Month: April 2010

April 26, 2010

Making Mistakes

MistakeMaking mistakes is all part of doing business.  Just ask Louis B. Mayer and Frank Capra.

Mayer, who built one of the greatest Hollywood studios ever – Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) – turned down Walt Disney when the young, struggling Walt came to him with an idea of making a movie about a mouse.  Mayer said women were afraid of mice, and that no one would ever pay money to see a film about them.

Frank Capra, the legendary movie director of It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, turned down a friend’s request to cast a then struggling actor because he didn’t think she was anything special.  Marilyn Monroe went on to become a big star.

You might say these were colossal blunders.

How can people who make such big mistakes be so successful?  They did a lot right, too.

There is nothing wrong in making mistakes.  If you are going to make things happen, you will litter the ground with mistakes.  It is part of the process.  The successful people do not let the mistakes hurt them, they just keep moving forward.

April 21, 2010

Self Leadership and The One Minute Manager

Someone asked me yesterday for tips on how to develop an entry level person that has strong potential.  My primary goal is to build the person’s confidence.  I do this by spending meaningful time with them to improve their skills.  This tends to improve their confidence in two ways.  First, my spending time with them makes them feel valuable and worthy, which builds confidence.  Second, their skills will improve, which will build their confidence.

Ken Blanchard uses situational leadership to discuss this in his One Minute Manager series. Briefly, if someone is new at a skill or goal, he or she needs to be patiently shown how to do it.  The person needs direction and frequent follow-up for feedback.

Once the person has learned the skill fairly well, he or she needs little direction and more support.  If they are frustrated, they may need to vent and hear another’s perspective for support.

As managers, we often do the opposite.  Someone is new at a skill and we often do not give enough direction or appropriate follow up.  We show them one time and expect them to know it.  When they feel frustrated, we either shame them for not getting it right or give them support rather than more direction. We should observe them doing the skill and then show them how to do it better.

Sometimes when someone knows the skill fairly well but is in a slump, we show them how to do it.  This feels like micromanaging and often takes away confidence.  They know the skill, they probably need support.

I recommend the One Minute Manager series by Ken Blanchard to learn more about self leadership.