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Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been missing for the past few weeks. Nobody knows where it went. How in 2014 can an airline vanish completely? It boggles our mind and makes us wonder who needs to be fired.

How can something have gone so wrong? The answer is people. And a more specific answer is people not double/triple/quadruple-checking; either their own work or others’ work.

It’s called a healthy dose of paranoia. Remember Murphy’s Law? Everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

(Healthy) paranoia is power.

10 Paranoid King

The loss of a 777 is an object lesson for employees all around the world.

Assuming things will wrong is not negativity. A healthy dose of paranoia a day keeps ridiculously absurd and unprofessional 777 disappearances away. Simple as that.

Think it slows down your schedule? Try going hands-free and relying on your autopilot systems to run the show and you’re inevitably bound to hit a snag due to human error.

Double-confirming people before a meeting, triple checking if you sent that vital email; all these things people say “uuuuughhh, again?” to—we call it the two-seconds-extra rule—is what ensures you don’t lose that 777; aka your client.

You think repeating back a client’s name and number is a waste of time? Recently our top-notch office manager had that rare fluke where he fell back on “proven” systems, and due to human error, forgot to get a working callback number from a client. Those two extra seconds potentially cost our company thousands.

This happens to everybody. Unless, of course, they have that healthy dose of paranoia.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, our office manager gives his ace guidelines on healthy paranoia:

1) Don’t assume that when you train someone, they’re going to do it correctly. For example, if you teach someone how to do filing, don’t take it for granted that they won’t make a mess. This happened with one of our interns, and when we finally checked the cabinet, it took a chunk of our time to rearrange everything.

2) Stop worrying about people not liking you. Being a pain in the ass because you’re making sure people do their jobs should not be a veritable concern when you’re managing a project. There’s a difference between being a nag and being horrible.

3) Check your equipment: monitors, printers, Skype, anything you might use during your meeting or client call.

4) Have a pen-and-paper checklist going to make sure you know what to check back on. If you rely on your memory, you’re going to forget it.

5) Have others remind you of what you need to do. Ask a co-worker to be a partner in paranoia and nag you about tasks in exchange for the same service.

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