Monday, February 28, 2005

Mistakes are good learning!

"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes." Mahatma Gandhi

How many managers in large organisations can relate to this wonderful Gandhi quote?

In organisations we are told
  • 'You are free to experiment'
  • 'We want innovation here'
  • 'We want to be creative here'
  • 'We want to be leaders in the market place'

The manager is however punished for making a mistake. Great motivation!!

The legendary story of IBM where the middle manager made a mistake costing the company three quarters of a million dollars is well known. He arrived at the Chief Executives office admitting his mistake and took with him his resignation letter. He asked the Chief Executive not tell him off - he knew had made the mistake - he wanted to just apologise and leave. The Chief Executive declined to accept the letter and said;

'Why would I want to sack someone I just spent 750,000 dollars training?'

I guess such managers are very few but what a fantastic story - allegedly true.

In my experience it is usually the opposite story.

In reality the slightest risk taking is frowned upon and with that goes all the enthusiasm and energy of the average manager.

Let's have a bit more risk taking thus fulfilling Gandhi's wonderful words.


Troy Worman said...

Excellent post, Trevor. I think you are spot on. I see it everyday. Everyone is too busy worried about covering their ass to take any risks.

servimetrica said...

Also, fear of punishment makes people hide bad news... which leads to other problems such as cooking the books.

Trevor Gay said...

I remember reading

'The person who neve made a mistake never made anything'

Amen to that and thanks Troy and GS

It is always good to get blog comments.