With razor thin margins many employers will not tolerate
major mistakes by those on the payroll. Make a mistake and
you could find yourself heading to human resources for your
final conversation. The unexpected consequence of this
action is that employees stop taking the risk unnecessary to
develop new products, deploy better procedures or go after
a big sale.

This was not the case with
Thomas J. Watson. As chairman
and CEO of IBM from 1914 to 1956, Watson is credited with
growing the company into an international technology
conglomerate. He was also one of the first to understand the
concept that everybody in the company as part of the sales
process.

Watson created a corporate culture different from his
competitors by seeing his employees as a company asset
to be nurtured and grown. Employee expenses were seen
as an investment in the future of the company at a time when
margins were as proportionately razor thin as they are today.
In particular, he liked employees who are willing to take risk
to grow his company.

“I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a
mistake that cost the company $600,000,” said Watson.
“No, I replied. I just . . .”

What surprised people was the reason that he gave or
retaining the employee who, in this example, been
responsible for losing about 1/10 of 1% of the company’s
profit.

Click here to see Watson’s reason.
Thomas Watson:
Employee mistakes
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