If someone in your organization is capable of inflicting six-figure damage to your bottom line, the first impulse is probably to fire them, even sue them if possible. But according to Thomas John Watson Sr., there’s a third option to be considered: keep them.
Watson, who lived from February 17, 1874 to June 19, 1956, was the chairman and CEO of International Business Machines (IBM). A self-made industrialist, he was instrumental in the company’s growth having devised a distinctive management style and a unique corporate culture. All in a time when computers were punch-card tabulating machines.
A posthumous title of “world’s greatest salesman” was awarded to Watson when he passed away in 1956. Perhaps not surprisingly, he was also one of the richest people of his time. And with such a mindset, it’s hardly a surprise.
“Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?”
– Thomas John Watson Sr., IBM