Richard Branson’s advice on making mistakes.
One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes. When you are pushing the boundaries, this is inevitable – and it’s important to realise this. Even when things are running well, there is always the prospect of a new reality round the corner. Suddenly, all the good decisions you made last week are doing you untold damage. What on earth did you do wrong? At Virgin, we have always been prepared to face the facts – however unpalatable they might be. Failure usually occurs when leaders avoid the reality of business. You have to trust the people around you to learn from their mistakes. Blame and recriminations are pointless.
Richard Branson’s story reminds me of the Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. When he first became Governor he was coming up with ideas to cut expenses. One was to reduce the amount of time stray animals were kept in a shelter before being euthanized. His daughter found this out and asked him why he doesn’t love animals. Many animal right groups started to make a lot of noise about it. What Arnold did that unfortunately many politicians don’t do is he admited it was a mistake. He held a press conference and told the press that it was true they had thought of the idea and were going to do it, but he reconsidered and will not being doing it because it would be a mistake. That was the end of the controversy and it wasn’t in the news the next day.
Blame is gets you nowhere. Learn and move forward.