September 6, 2021
Let me share a small story. A promising young executive at IBM was involved in a risky business venture that failed and lost the company Ten Million Dollars. Tom Watson. Sr, IBM’s founder and CEO, summoned the executive to his chambers to figure out what happened. Fully expecting to be dismissed for the mistake, the young fellow handed over his resignation, taking responsibility for the error. At which point, Tom Watson is supposed to have exclaimed, ” you can’t be serious? Why would I want you to go? We have just spent ten million dollars educating you !!”
India celebrates Teachers Day on September 5th. Thinking about what to write, I remembered this humorous but relevant story. I have had my own version of the Ten Million Dollar mistakes, but I was lucky also to have the hand of supportive bosses and mentors who guided and helped me pick up the right lessons from the mistakes I committed. The big mistakes have helped me grow the most, and for that, I am grateful to all my teachers who held my hand and told me it is ok to fail.