When I joined NCR Corporation in 1983 (my first job after college), I moved to Columbia (SC) where they built the first multi-user UNIX computers. My role was to test printed circuit boards as they were assembled, and our department developed a reputation for pioneering new test methods. It was a memorable season in my career.
But, there was another memory from that season. Within weeks of walking through the front door, I discovered that our lead product had a defect that many customers would never see. But, the company had recalled every single unit that had ever been built…and was struggling to replace each one. I soon learned that we were bleeding money, and it nearly bankrupted our division.
However, that soon became the secret to our success. Commercial multi-user computers were in their infancy and had not developed widespread adoption in the marketplace. But the actions of our division built trust with our customers, and everyone knew that we would take care of them. So…they bought more units. Many, MANY more units!
That decision didn’t make sense to many people inside the company…at least not from a cost perspective. It was a crazy, bold act. It might not have worked. Many expected it to fail.
Great leadership decisions are not always “cost effective”, but they must be made. Trust the leaders above you and let them lead. Help them succeed in their decisions…especially the risky ones.
One day…when it’s your turn to lead… you will be rewarded by others who do the same.
Thanks for listening.