The dictionary meaning of mistake is, “a wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge, or inattention.” A journey towards mastery into any field requires a lot of actions. These actions often surprise the human race with the variety of results we get from them. Forget disciples, even masters can never be 100% sure about the result of all their actions. When a child trembles while learning to walk, his mother doesn’t reprimand him, but rather applauds him for his efforts because she knows that one day her child will surely walk tall.
Is it the same in corporate life? Can we live a professional life without making mistakes? John Wooden, one of the best American basketball players and coaches said, “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.” But the debatable question is: Does today’s corporate culture have enough endurance for mistakes?
Well, for most of the bosses this depends on the aftermath of a mistake. Remember the definition of mistake. While making a mistake a person might not even think about the repercussions or the stakes. And, if he thinks about it, it will certainly add to the pressure. Now, it clearly depends on how leaders handle such mistakesmaking mistakes.
Once upon a time at Adani Ports, one of the more experienced engineers thought about making a special floating machine that could ease out the operations at the port. His compelling presentations got him the necessary approval needed to continue his dream project. A team of highly skilled engineers spent months and a whopping sum of 70 millions rupees. The team was very excited to showcase their talent to Gautam Adani on the launch day of the project. But as a famous writer once said, “Doing what’s right is no guarantee against misfortune.” This team’s dream project failed miserably as this floating device sank right in front of Gautam Adani and other senior members.
This failure gave heartache to most of the senior managers who immediately shouted in unison, “Let’s fire them.” Even those engineers were quite sure that it would be the last day for them at Adani Group. But going against all odds Gautam Adani said, “That’s okay guys!” To everyone’s surprise, Mr. Adani said that these engineers would continue to work for Adani Group. When a curious senior person went to clarify with him, Mr. Adani said, “They have understood a very important lesson of their life at our expenses, if we fire them they would go somewhere else and apply this learning.” He mentioned that his group had spent the money for their on-the-job training. Thus, they need to continue with the company and use this expensive learning to enrich the Adani Group to greater heights.
This decision of the management ended up creating a team of the best engineers who each gave 100% to upscale their company.
What happens in your organization? Are your employees scared of making mistakes? Do mistakes mean the end of a job (and the use of this wisdom elsewhere)?
How do you look at such mistakes? Please share with us.