Thursday, February 24, 2011

Management Stories # 24 - Deal with Mistakes

Most of us face situations which are really frustrating, compelling and sometimes ripping our peace apart. The problem gets worse when someone of your team, who is very well trusted, makes a mistake (a genuine mistake) and that eventually screws up a lot more things just because of cascading effect.

The point to consider is: whether you forgive the mistake because of all the good work done so far by the trusted person, or is it agreeable to imagine that all good work is always there for granted, and the mistake should be severely punished? Tough question, and many of the Managers are stuck for an answer on this. Let us see a story on similar lines for a solution.

There is this popular story about a top salesman in the aircraft industry who messed up. He lost a $5 Million contract. At his desk the next morning he starts going through his papers – tidying them up, clearing his desk.

He gets a phone call from his manager: “Have you got 5 minutes? ”

“Sure” he mumbles and slowly makes his way up the stairs to his boss’ office.

As he enters the room he says: “Look, I know I got it wrong – am sorry – I have written my letter of resignation – here it is ” and puts it on the desk.

His manager looks at the letter, rips it in half, rips it in half again and puts it in the bin.

“You must be joking” she says smiling ” We have just spent $5 Million on your training – there is no way you are leaving until you have made that back for us.”

And the rest, as they say, is history. The guy worked even harder, was so glad for the opportunity, and landed up billions worth of contracts for the Organization.

To err is human, to forgive is divine. But yes, agreed that Managers cannot always be divine - but at least we can choose to be a human to understand that errors are common place in human life.

Am not preaching to turn a blind eye on all mistakes, but just learn to forgive and forget genuine mistakes committed by the trusted ones, who have already slogged in their life to always give you the best. That will help you push up the motivation levels even higher.

Understand that everyone is answerable to their own conscience, and it will certainly hurt the person directly, and they will do all they can in the world to ensure they compensate for the error.

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