Tom Watson Jr., CEO of IBM between 1956 and 1971, was a key figure in the information revolution. Watson repeatedly demonstrated his abilities as a leader.
A young executive had made some bad decisions that cost the company several million dollars. He was summoned to Watson’s office, fully expecting to be dismissed. As he entered the office, the young executive said, “I suppose after that set of mistakes you will want to fire
me.” Watson was said to have replied, “Not at all, young man. We have just spent a couple of
million dollars educating you.”
The story provides a strong reminder that some of the most powerful lessons we can learn are
from our so called failures or difficult times.
Thomas Edison’s famous saying in attempting to make the light bulb echoes such thinking: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Edison also demonstrated a great response to adversity. When his factory was burned down, with much of his life’s work inside, Edison said: “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”
A characteristic of effective leadership is to see things differently; seeing mistakes as an investment in learning. Seeing that, even in disaster, you can start anew.
Make the choice today to see things differently.
In Deuteronomy 30:15, 19-20 (New Living Translation) we are reminded that the daily discipline to choose to see things differently goes a long way toward determining your fulfillment. You may not change the circumstances, but you can change the way you face them.
“15 Today I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between life and death. 19 Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! 20 Choose to love the LORD your God and to obey him and commit yourself to him, for he is your life.”