Ask any good and successful Manager or even a corporate leader and he will tell you that what matters to him is not the mistake but the repetition of it.
05 Aug 2017 11:03

Ask any good and successful Manager or even a corporate leader and he will tell you that what matters to him is not the mistake but the repetition of it.

I bring this up because for any executive who wants to grow in an organisation it is important for him or her to develop the right attitude towards dealing with mistakes or failures.

I have met a lot of young executives who have this aim within them to never make any mistakes or experience any failures in their life.

For these young professionals making a mistake or failing in a particular action is unacceptable.

Due to this attitude, they end up getting highly stressed and even demotivated.

I do not say that it is good to make a mistake or that one should be happy if he or she fails, however I do believe that what is more important is dealing with a mistake and then thinking intensely about finding ‘ways’  to ensure that the same mistake or failure is not repeated again and again!


Competition to become the best

Please allow me to explain this with an incident that had happened with me and also with one of my colleagues many years ago.

Raul and I were working along with many of our other colleagues in the Sales as well as Customer Service department and in many ways, we both were also competing with each other to become the best in that team.

The competition was healthy and without any kind of negativity between us and yet the competition was fierce too!

I still remember the day when a Sales Strategy Development Competition was announced for our entire team.

The competition was about creating the best Sales strategy for the products and services of our organisation.

Both Raul and I were being looked at as front-runners to win this competition but no one was sure about who would finally be the ultimate ‘winner’.

We were given exactly seven days to develop the STRATEGY and the final presentation was to be made on the 8th day in our conference room to all the Senior Managers and also the top Management people of the organization.

We all began intensely working upon the assignment and finally, on the 8th day, each of us made our respective presentations to the esteemed audience!

The next day the results were declared in a meeting that was specially organised for this.

I was confident and yet was prepared to accept Raul as the winner as I knew that he wanted to beat me in this competition and had also taken more pains to make his presentation better than mine.

But, to my surprise, the winner was someone else.

The person who won the competition was a junior member and his name was Jim! He had recently joined our organisation and had very less experience than Raul and me and yet he was the one who was found to better than all of us.

It was a bit of a shock for me not because I did not win but more so because Raul too was not able to win it.

A couple of weeks had passed and I happened to sit along with Raul to have our lunch in the canteen.

He looked very depressed and dejected. I could see his disappointment and unhappiness in his facial expressions and even his overall body language. “I just cannot understand how I lost the competition?” he spoke to me in anguish.



“Mayur, since the day the winner was announced I have lost complete interest and inspiration to work.

“My strategy, I know, was the best especially because of the stupendous effort I had taken and the many people from the corporate world I had met in order to create the most effective Strategy”. “No Raul” these words shook me. It was our Head of Sales standing just behind us. We had not realised that he was listening to our conversation. He sat beside Raul and began addressing the both of us.

“Dear Raul, I have listened to what you were telling Mayur. I have been observing you. Since the results were announced you have been depressed so much so that even your own sales performance has deteriorated.

I felt that now is the time for me to share a few things with you and will hope that after listening to me, you will change your attitude”. Saying this he sat on the other side of the table, ordered some coffee and then continued.

“Dear Raul, I was the main judge for the competition and I am sure all of you know that. As a judge, I wish to share something observations with you.

Your strategy was absolutely good and well prepared. Your presentation too was amasing, probably better than most of the other contestants.

Having said this there were two critical and significant mistakes in your strategy-presentation.

The first mistake was that you did not incorporate overseas sales initiatives into your strategy.


The competition was about ‘Sales Strategy” and we had not said that it has to be only domestic.

You could have widened your vision towards global sales rather than restricting it to only domestic regions.

The second mistake you made while preparing your strategy was that you did not explain effectively the Online Sales strategies.

As a judge, I would have liked to see more innovative ways of promoting our products such as through ‘online promotions’ or creation of Sales ‘hubs’ at different residential apartment buildings or localities.

Dear Raul, the winner of this competition may not have presented his strategy as well as you did but having said that he had more innovation, greater depth and width in his strategy.

The last two weeks you have not really done much except sit on your desk and just doing the regular thing. Where is your enthusiasm and energy levels? You lost the competition not because you were bad but because there were some others who were better than you in certain areas.

There really is no reason for you to be so deeply depressed about. Rather than analysing where you went wrong and then rectifying it, you got extremely disappointed by the result and this, in fact, has negatively affected your daily work. Remember you must Raul, ‘to err (make a mistake) is human! You have to change your attitude!

I will advise you to begin identifying and then improving upon your errors or mistakes!


Be Positive

What I am advising you is not just related to the competition at work but also to life as a whole.

In the future, there will be more of such similar situations where you may lose another competition but that is when you must be not become negative but become positive and start recognising and responding to those mistakes!

The boss looked at me too and asked me if I too had understood what he was sharing with us.

I nodded to say yes after which he wished us the best and walked away. That day was a real eye opener for Raul and also for me and from that day onwards both of began implementing upon his advice!

Through this column, all that I wish to say is that as human beings we have aspirations and ambitions to achieve our various goals in life and while we keep working towards achieving our varied goals it is very much possible that we will make a few mistakes as well as encounter failures.

When these mistakes happen we must not let them affect our motivation and morale. In fact, we must try and learn from them and simultaneously ensure that we do not repeat them in the future.

The most important thing is that we make a note of it, analyse it and learn from it and not repeat it!

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