Your greatest teacher is your last mistake.
So, was it really a mistake?
As we continue to explore a new type of leadership for our world, let’s consider values for a moment. Most specifically, how they play out in your life and business.
You make every single decision, every moment, every day,
based upon your values. Do you know what they are?
Whether working with individuals or organizations, one of the fundamental practices I employ is helping them define their values.
Several years ago, I was consulting with a division of National Cash Register (NCR) and their leadership team. It was a long-term intervention to define Purpose, Vision, Values and build team cohesiveness and performance across all levels.
One of the C Suite Execs stated, “I want to adopt risk as a value for our company.”
I responded, “Okay that means if someone takes a risk and loses money for the company, then you have to reward them in front of everyone.”
You could hear a feather drop.
They didn’t adopt risk as a value.
Thoughts, visions and words without action are nothing but noise.
Knowledge without application is a total waste of spacetime.
Let me give you an example:
In my former company I had a Director of Business Development, let’s call him Jason. Jason was charged with a large project to build a new website and develop an infomercial.
I entrusted the entire project to him and gave him the power to make the buying decision as well as to manage the outside vendors and suppliers.
The entire project cost $650,000. Obviously, a large investment, particularly in 2008 when the housing market was tanking.
Long/short, he totally mismanaged the entire process due to lack of experience and ability. He didn’t hold vendors to their deadlines, he didn’t stay on top of their work, and he allowed a lot of things to slip through the cracks.
All this occurred as I spent my typical 250+ days on the road. Even though I had given complete autonomy to Jason, as the leader, the responsibility fell on my shoulders.
The infomercial was a catastrophe, and the timing of its release could not have been worse. With the economy and housing market in a downward spiral, the last thing that people thought they needed was “Harmony and Wellbeing” (Harmonic Wealth®, although that’s what we all really want, whether consciously aware of it or not).
They thought they wanted MONEY and a financial lifeline!
The entire $650K investment was lost. Not to mention the time and salary dollars invested in Jason and others.
I was in Egypt with a group of clients when I heard the news, and I immediately told my assistant to set a meeting for me and Jason upon my return.
He came into my office head hung low, and awkwardly sat down in the chair across from my desk.
I said, “Jason, obviously we have a costly situation here. What happened?”
He preceded to tell me what happened, and I asked him what he learned.
Once he answered all my questions he cautiously said, “Am I fired?”
Often, doing what’s “not the best”
teaches you exactly how to do what’s best moving forward.
I responded “Fired!? I just invested $650K in your education; and I expect you to make it back with a return!”
He smiled sheepishly, breathed a huge sigh of relief and said, “I will.”
I said, “Okay, now get out there and get busy!” We both smiled and he said, “Thanks.”
Leaders realize that when they forgive others,
they’re actually forgiving the part of themselves that the other represents.
You see, we held a value for “Taking Action” in my company. Jason took action. It wasn’t the “right” action. Not the most productive action. But it was action.
I also realized that I gave him too much rope. I should have developed him more. Or at minimum had another one of my leadership team keep a closer eye on him. Absolute responsibility rested on me as the leader.
- When you say you value something, regardless of what it is, either personally or professionally, you must reward that action and accept the consequences of it no matter what the result. Anything less sends mixed messages and degrades trust.
- Mistakes are how we learn. So, are they really “mistakes?” ONLY if we don’t learn.
- Forgive yourself, forgive the other, and forgive the entire situation. Because at the end of the day as a leader you realize all 3 (self, other and situation) are you.
- Move forward, hopefully wiser and stronger.
True forgiving is the ability to say, “Thank you for-giving me that experience.”
All true forgiveness ends in gratitude.
Be a Leader. Live Your Purpose; and Take Your Power Back!
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