Over the past couple weeks we’ve witnessed what happens when leaders don’t have the emotional intelligence to admit to even the smallest and most originally inconsequential mistakes. This has caused me to reflect on some of mine over the past few decades. I won’t bore or entertain you with some of the personal doozies – we’ve all been there, done that – but there have been a few that have taught me life-changing lessons.
Obviously that’s the importance of reflecting on mistakes: to learn. Then move forward, change and improve, and perhaps even teach.
After committing a design error that cost a lot of time and money, one of my first bosses sat me down and admonished me to “sweat the details.” Although over thirty years ago, I remember that like it was yesterday. As an engineer I thought I was detail-oriented, but what he meant was I should peel back the onion to understand what was really happening. Eventually I would realize that this is the same as asking “why?” more than one time.
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