My wife had a problem with a furniture order --- a refund due for the past eighteen months had not been sent to her.

We all think we do a really good job, and don't make many mistakes. So naturally, we call out all the problems we run into, when dealing with 'brands'.

Assume you make a big mistake once every 100 days, maybe just three big mistakes per year.

If you are an independent consultant or a pundit, you'll be right almost every day. Read a few blogs, you'll notice this fact immediately. Pundits have a solution for every large, dumb company in America.

Now pretend you work for a large, dumb company in America, one that has 20,000 employees. Let's say that these are great employees, and they only make a mistake once every 125 days. That's only 2.88 big mistakes per employee per year.

On average, this behemoth of a brand will make 20,000 * 2.88 / 365 = 158 big mistakes each day.

158 big mistakes, each day.

I suppose it's how you respond to big mistakes that sets apart good companies from not-so-good companies.

But let's not fool ourselves that we have some magic potion that fixes the ills of a large, dumb company. It isn't easy to get 20,000 or 50,000 or 200,000 employees to be close to perfect, on every issue, every day.

It is relativly easy to get one person to be close to perfect, on every issue, every day.