Friday, 24 June 2016


Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, writing about how to win and about wining in
business and winning in leadership and management, calls for "heavy-duty

"Every leader makes mistakes, every leader stumbles and falls.  The question
with a senior-level leader is, does she learn from her mistakes, regroup,
and then get going again with renewed speed, conviction, and confidence?
The name of this trait is resilience, and it is so important that a leader
must have it going into a job because if she doesn't, a crisis time is too
late to learn it." (Winning, 2005, p. 90)

The key to winning is not avoiding mistakes.  When it comes to making
mistakes, that is inevitable.  Nor is the key to not take risks, that is, to
avoid risks.  Again, that is inevitable given the human predicament of
fallibility.  The key is learning.  The key is picking yourself up and
figuring out what you need to learn, learning it, integrating that learning
into your actions, getting back on the saddle and going for it again.  If
something didn't pan out as you anticipated, then you have something to
learn, don't you?  The question is what?

Well, there's actually another question.  Are you willing to learn what you
missed?  Are you willing to take a long deep look into the mistake and
figure out what didn't go by the plan, what deviated from the plan, what is
needed to regroup and "get going again with renewed speed, conviction, and
confidence."  Are you willing to learn to become resilient?

There is a connection between learning and resilience.  Do you have those
two things linked within you?  If they are connected, then obviously, the
better your learning, the faster your learning, the more open and curious
your learning-the fast and better your resilience.  You can bounce back
quicker and cleaner, that is, carrying less of the contamination of the

To argue this point I'll run with the metaphor of "getting back in the
saddle again."  You are riding a horse and you get thrown.  Now you're down
on the ground, maybe in the mud, and you may be a little sore for wear.  So
what do you do now?  Do you brush of the dirt, turn your back and walk back
to town swearing, "Never again!  I'll never trust a damn horse again?"  Do
you pull out your gun and shoot the horse?  (I'm supposing you're a complete
cowboy or cowgirl and have your gun with you!)  "That's for throwing me
down!"  Or do you brush yourself off, and go back to get into the saddle
again, "Now what caused the horse to throw me?  Did I pull on the reigns to
hard?  Did I urge the horse over terrain with briars and thorns?  Did I not
notice the snake until we were nearly on top of him?"

Here learning is the cure and resilience is the result.  The more you
accelerate your learning in an attitude of openness, responsibility, and
curiosity, the quicker your resilience and success.  Are you a fast and
thorough learner in the presence of a mistake?  Do you immediately default
to the attitude, "What can I learn here?"  "What did I miss that I need to
understand?"  "Who knows how to handle this that I can talk to?"  The
ability to "get going again," to bounce back, to get back in the saddle is
the ability to not let a set-back defeat you, but to persist until you can
ride with grace and elegance.

My first big set-back was a divorce, my second was getting fired and losing
my first career choice, and my third was a severe financial loss.  There
were others, but those were the Big Three for me.  Luckily for me, I had a
learning bias.  I had already learned that learning was an important
strategy for getting ahead in life.  The shock of finding myself on my back
contemplating the Milky Way Galaxy, alone, pennyless, and confused triggered
me to use the best coping skill that I had at the time, study.  For awhile I
think I could have made a career in the Library!  I did spend a lot of time
there tracking down the best works I could find on relationships, then
psychology, then wealth creation.

The amazing thing is that sometimes one simple principle is all you need to
turn things around, get back in the saddle and ride off to success.  I have
seen that time and time again with various people.  Sometimes the set-back
occurred because they were missing one piece to a great puzzle and when they
found it, they were off and running with conviction and confidence.  Like
everything else, it depends on the mental model that you are using to do
something-how accurate or inaccurate it is, how complete or incomplete.

Whatever it is, it is what you need to learn.  If you spend time blaming and
accusing, shouting at the horse, or worse, shooting the horse, you will
learn nothing.  You will just create more trouble for yourself.  If you give
up, change the subject, focus on something else, you also will learn
nothing.  You're not even looking to learn.  Some seem to have an aversion
to doing the post-event review because they label it "negative" and think
they will get more dirty and negative if they spent time on that.  That
hardly ever happens especially if your frame of mind is, "I want to know
what I missed so I can fill in the missing pieces."

Learning led me into doing Couple Counseling for years, from there into
focusing on Communication and doing Communication Training.  Learning sent
me through the history of psychology until I was thoroughly familiar with
every school of psychology and ended up with a Master Degree in clinical
psychology and then a Doctorate in Cognitive Psychology.  Learning turned
around my financial mess, enabled me to stabilize it and later to reach my
goal of financial freedom so that I stopped living paycheck to paycheck or
worrying about money.

It's out of the tough experiences of life, the crucible experiences, that we
seem to learn more thoroughly and integratively.  Well, you do if you have a
learning bias.  It's out the set-back experiences when you get knocked down
that can, if you let it, motivate you to learn what you need to learn to
never get knocked down in that way again.    [Want more about Resilience,
see Meta-States, or look for the Neuro-Semantic Training on Resilience.]

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.

               Neuro-Semantics Executive Director

               Neuro-Semantics International

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