Oooops: Making Mistakes in Judgement

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to build your self-confidence in spite of your mistakes.

             So you made a mistake and now you’re feeling bad. Well cheer up! If misery loves company, you’ve got plenty of company in the mistake department  Even Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison and Aristotle made snap judgements that were less than buttoned down:

               Einstein said in 1932– 13 years before the advent of nuclear energy –that  there is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will be obtainable. (Ooops!).

Edison said that no one would ever use alternating current. (Ooops!).

And Aristotle said it was absurd to think that wind was really air in motion. (Ooops!).

          The most effective leaders I know make mistakes. After all, mistakes come with the territory when you lead.  If you weren’t making mistakes, you wouldn’t be leading the new and different. You would be following the proven and sound.

         Considers these classic mistakes in judgement across various disciplines.  In business: Western Union, labeling the new invention a “toy”, turned down the rights to the telephone in 1878. (Ooops!).

 IBM Chairman Thomas J. Watson in 1943 said that there was a world market for only five computers. .(Ooops!) And in 1978
Digital Equipment Corporation’s president Ken Olsen said there was no reason that any individual should have a computer in their home.” (Ooops!).

       In education, a Yale University professor gave Frederick Smith a “C” on an economic class paper he wrote describing his idea for an overnight delivery service. Smith used the ideas in his paper to found Federal Express. (Ooops!).

       In entertainment, MGM Studios refused to bid on the film rights to the Margaret Mitchell’s book Gone With the Wind. “No Civil War picture every made a nickel,” said a production executive. (Ooops!).

At Universal Pictures, an executive told Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood they couldn’t make it as movie stars. They became the industry’s top two box office attractions in the 1970s. (Ooops!).

     In the media,

    The Chicago Tribune erroneously reported in a headline: “Dewey Defeats Truman ” on Wednesday morning November 3, 1948. (Ooops!).
In 1968, Business Week reported: “With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big slice of the US Market for itself.” (Ooops!). And in 1980,

Forbes magazine reported that AT&T was not going to be broken up. (Ooops!).

     So when you make a mistake, consider it a confirmation of your leadership. Then resolve to solve the problem creatively and productively. See how others have turn their mistakes into treasures.  And turn your Ooops into Aha’s!

Today’s ImproveMINT
Learn from your mistakes to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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