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You might think big embarrassing mistakes will get you fired, but they don’t. As long as you keep making different kinds of mistakes and your managers know what they’re doing (big “if”), you’ll be fine. Just don’t make the same kind of mistake over and over again. And it helps to work for a guy like Tom Watson or Donald Trump.
While the dollar amount has changed over time, the other details are pretty consistent. Great companies, like IBM in its heyday or the Trump Organization all along, forgive mistakes. Bad organizations put the fear of God into everyone so nobody takes risks. Companies that don’t tolerate risk die.
Here’s the story of IBM as told by an IBM executive.
When IBM had hired me right out of college in 1974, the HR manager told me an anecdote about Tom Watson Jr. According to it, Tom Watson had called a VP to his office to discuss a failed development project that lost IBM in the range of $10 million. Expecting to be fired, the VP presented his letter of resignation. Tom Watson Jr. just shook his head: “You are certainly not leaving after we just gave you a $10 million education.”
Many people don’t know it yet, but Donald Trump forgives mistakes, too, as long as the same person doesn’t make the same mistake again and again. We just learned this involving Melania’s RNC speech. Via Yahoo News:
A speechwriter for Donald Trump’s company said Wednesday she made a mistake and apologized for using passages from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech in Melania Trump’s speech to the GOP convention Monday night.
Meredith McIver said she offered to resign but Donald Trump refused to accept her resignation.
Ms. McIver learned a huge lesson. She learned two, actually. One, don’t plagiarize, and two, forgive others mistakes.
This makes no sense, does it? Donald Trump is the guy from TV who can’t wait to say “you’re fired!” Or maybe television is not reality, even if it’s called “reality TV.” What if Donald J. Trump really is the warm, considerate, affectionate, hard-working builder his kids and his employees say he is? What if these truths about Trump really are stranger than that fiction?
Yesterday I pointed out Donald Trump’s willingness raise his hand when the social norm says keep your hands down. This behavior demonstrates Trump’s maturity and his advanced decision-making skills. Today we learned yet another Trump quality that’s been kept in the dark.
The more we learn about the true Trump, the more we see Trump the leader.
We know from many stories, most recently Donald Trump Jr.’s amazing convention speech, that Trump hires and promotes people for their potential and hard work, not their college degrees. Trump gives people the chance to grow, to become “the best version of myself” according to his daughter Tiffany. Hiring and promoting the Trump way only works if you’re willing to forgive mistakes, teach, coach, and trust.
As you know, forgiveness, teaching, coaching, and trusting are vital qualities of a leader. As everyone knows.
You can go on believing the TV Trump or you can choose to believe the real Trump, the forgiving, teaching, trusting coach Trump. Which version makes America great? Assuming you want to live in a great country, that is.
Email this post to a friend if you want to make America great again.
P.S. What should get you fired is falsely accusing people of plagiarism just because Melania’s speech primed people to believe such lies. That’s what Erick Erickson and a bunch of leftists have done since last night. They’ve accused Donald Trump Jr. of plagiarizing his own speechwriter. The speechwriter shot down their patently false accusations, and Erickson later modified his accusation. But the damage was done. It’s a shame, isn’t it, that Erickson’s identity claim leads him to such anti-social bad behavior? No principles.
Also published on Medium.