This week I was remembering the story shared by the Heath’s in their book, Switch, where they share the story of Tom Watson (CEO of IBM at the time) who had an executive who made a business decision that cost the company $10m.
The next day the executive had already prepared his letter of resignation and went into Tom’s office and said,“I’m assuming you are going to fire me.” Tom replied, “Fire you? I just invested $10m in you – get back to work.”
The key message in the story is that the executive didn’t have a sense of entitlement and in turn, his bad decision wasn’t taken as a showstopper. His humility and acknowledgment of the issue highlighted more that he wanted to be part of the answer although he had caused a problem. In turn, Tom’s response showed how great leaders think.
Love always associates with, but judgment always distances from.