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Someone Messed Up. Here's How You Fix It. Whether it's a dishonest employee or an order snafu, what you do after a mistake makes the difference. We'll show you the steps to take.

By Gael O'Brien

This story appears in the November 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »


I just fired my sales director for dishonesty and need to replace him. Our business is in a male-dominated field, but I want things done right this time. My wife tells me studies have shown that women are perceived to be more ethical than men. Is this accurate?

A: Dishonesty is a failure of character, not gender. Before recruiting the rotten apple's successor, find out if he created any problems that need cleanup. His way of doing things lowered the bar for those reporting to him. Consider whether there is anything about your company's sales goals, pay or incentive plan that could inadvertently encourage unethical behavior. Find an issue? Address it immediately.

Before hiring somebody new, reaffirm your ethical standards and practices with your team. Let them know what you expect. Ask if they see company values supporting, challenging or not having an impact on how they sell your products or services. Find out if they feel they have what they need to do their jobs and if there are non-financial rewards -- like recognition and appreciation programs -- that would motivate them. This discussion will give you a clearer picture of the kind of person you should hire to bring out the best in the team.

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