5 Mistakes That Changed My Life

It is fascinating to me what an ambivalent role mistakes have in our lives. On the one hand we seem to come into the world wired for making mistakes and learning from them – you just need to watch a toddler experimenting with the world around her, trying to take her first steps and falling over and over and over again until she finally succeeds. If toddlers weren’t willing to make mistakes, they might never learn to walk on two feet, keep their fingers away from hot stoves and stop torturing the house cat by incessantly pulling its tail. On the other hand, once we get into the schooling system, mistakes seem to take on a new meaning altogether. Instead of embracing them as stepping stones for personal growth, we are being taught to avoid them at all costs. Children are rewarded not for how much they experiment and learn, but by how few mistakes they make – the fewer the better. Later on in life things don’t get better either. Work, at least in the corporate environment, is but a continuation of school in the sense that mistakes are strongly discouraged and their absence is rewarded. In our personal lives too, we are expected to conform and do “the right” thing, whatever that may be, according to the expectations of our families, friends, or of the society we live in. If success is measured by how many things you have – then we are expected to get good jobs, buy houses, cars and other material indicators of personal success, all the while making as few mistakes as possible. Thus, years later, we end up being caught in this suffocating web of social norms that, more often than not, come against our innate predispositions. So, what are we to do then? My revelation was that whenever my life took an extraordinary turn for the better, it was after I had done some sort of serious mistake, not after I had done everything “right”. Thus...

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7 Deadly Sins of Managers

Feb 01, 11 7 Deadly Sins of Managers

Posted by in Books, Business, Leadership

Victor got hired in a corporation while he was still studying and he stayed with the company after graduation. He’s young, energetic, ambitious and considered a rising star by his company. It’s been a few years now, in which Victor worked very hard and became one of the best professionals in his area of expertise. Everyone acknowledges his experience and it’s not seldom that colleagues in other departments ask for his advice. So a promotion was just a matter of time. It came naturally and wondered no one. Victor was appointed manager of a team of 10 people and it was the start of a new era for him… In his book, “The Accidental Manager”, Gary Topchik tells the story of managers who, like Victor, were promoted on account of their technical expertise. Topchick calls them “accidental managers” because, even though they received the promotion as a reward for their contribution to the company, hardly anyone made sure they fully understood what their new role entailed, beyond the salary raise and the status boost. Too often companies are superficial in treating the profound implications such a change in role has both for the manager involved, Victor in our case, for his future team and ultimately for the company. Thus it’s easy for Victor to fall into the trap of believing that his new position is just an “upgrade” on his old one and that nothing much will change in his work. What is he likely to do in this case? He might easily commit one of the 7 deadly sins of “accidental managers”. 1. Keep on doing what he did before Victor keeps on doing what he knows best – relies on his technical expertise and spends most of his time on tasks and personal objectives instead of developing his team. The result? Victor is overwhelmed by the huge volume of work and his team is de-motivated and frustrated by his apparent lack of involvement; people lack direction and results are slow to come. 2. Becomes...

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