Jack Welch (whose birthday is today) is one of the all-time iconic Leader/Managers so it is no surprise that he was also an advocate of embracing failure.
Phil Dourado includes another choice Welch anecdote in the very first chapter (devoted to ‘Failure’) of his book ‘The 60 Second Leader’…
- “I did accidentally blow up the plant, yes, I was about 25 and had been experimenting with a different mixture. There was an explosion. I was scared stiff when I went to the manager. But, he was mainly curious as to why I had what I had done and what I had learned from it. ‘Would the process I was trying have worked?’ is that interested him! That real encouragement to get it right rather than a punishment did have a profound effect on me, yes…We celebrated mistakes at a management gathering with 1,000 people in the room. A manager would get up and say why the environmentally sensitive light bulb or whatever it was had failed…and then we’d give them a $1,000 or a TV or something, depending on the scale of the thing. The point was to share the learning and get smarter as an organisation.”
Dourado’s chapter features a number of great other great stories quotes such as the following by Piet Hein Danish inventor and poet…
- The road to wisdom?
Well, its plain and simple to express:
and err again