Thursday, February 18, 2010

What Happens when People Fail?

In a great book I just finished reading, Hard Facts, Dangerous Half Truths & Total Nonsense, the authors Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton remark, "The best diagnostic tool – when we wanted to learn about a company quickly – is to ask what happens when people fail?"
  • If employees come to you with a hang dog look, when they are coming to say they screwed up, how do you react?
  • If you blast them like J.C. Dithers does Dagwood, how often do you think they are going to bring up projects that are starting to go awry?
  • If you claim to have an open door, but woe the person who comes in with a problem...
  • If you are known for your 'moods' and the employees seem to be away when you are angry...
  • (If your management team is guilty of any or all of the above, it reflects on you as well!)
All these provide every indication of what type of company you are running.

The only employees who never make mistakes are those who do nothing at all.

If you don't know the answer of what happens when people fail, have a friend come in and ask the employees. You might not want to hear the answer - but your company will be better off if you do.

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