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A thoughtful response to a failure

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

As a young manager at Johnson & Johnson, Jim Burke developed a therapeutic chest rub for children. The product launched to great fanfare—and failed miserably.

The company’s chairman, Robert Wood Johnson, called Burke into his office. “Are you the one who just cost us all that money?” he asked.

Expecting to be fired, Burke said, “Yes.”

But instead, Johnson offered to shake his hand. “Well, I just want to congratulate you,” he replied. “If you are making mistakes, that means you are taking risks, and we won’t grow unless you take risks.”

— Adapted from Soldier, Statesman, Peacemaker, Jack Uldrich, AMACOM.

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