If you try something and it works out badly, would you learn to do it differently next time?
Oh the tedium of generic questions.
Because the answer certainly shouldn’t be an automatic “yes”.
Because the context is everything.
I gave a CEO I was working with advice once not to sack a member of their team who hadn’t been working out well for a while. My advice was to have a direct conversation with him, and tell him that things would be assessed in 3 months.
The conversation was had. There was an uptick in performance for a while.
But some time later – after the 3 months in fact – some of those old patterns re-emerged. And they were destructive.
Eventually, that person resigned.
The CEO I was working with immediately grabbed the metaphorical cat-o-nine-tails and started to whip themselves over the decision they’d made.
“Should’ve sacked him before the additional damage was done.”
Close friends agreed. Compounding the feeling of having failed.
As we talked about it, I suggested that if the same were to happen again, I’d make the same recommendation.
Give him 3 months, and if it’s not working out, move him on.
Because the approach the CEO had taken spoke to their values. Which were that people should be given a chance.
To have sacked him there and then may have prevented damage down the line.
But it would have eroded the values of who the CEO was and what kind of a company they led.
So yes, it worked out badly. But the lesson to learn is to look deep and understand why that decision was as it was, and what values informed it.
Then decide whether there’s a different course of action that is still aligned with those values which may yield a better outcome.
And if not?
Decide you’d do the same again. Because keeping your values is more important than the individual outcome.
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