Lately we’ve been sharing how you can put a positive spin on a difficult or negative work experience. Today we’re going to share a third story, one that shows that you can learn from your mistakes.
My last position was at a small company that had created an interesting and innovative product. The goal was to negotiate a contract with a large corporation and to eventually sell the company. The product wasn’t complete and it had some weak spots that we tried to hide. Most of the employees at my company spoke Russian, but the other company’s representatives were all American. During one of the joint meetings, one employee said to his peer sitting next to him, in Russian, “They are such idiots! Let’s hope they don’t ask us about the “black box!” At the conclusion of the meeting, one of the members of the other team thanked everyone for meeting, in Russian! We were not able to make a deal with them, most likely because of that comment. This is not a company I am happy to be a part of and thus I’m seeking a new position.
While the facts of the story above remain the same, you can put a positive spin on it by explaining how even a big mistake can have a positive outcome:
As a result, we had to work harder as a team and re-focus our efforts on improving the product. Personally, I have learned several things from that experience. I don’t make assumptions about people I meet and I have learned to never underestimate a team that I am negotiating with.
Furthermore, while the loss of this deal was devastating at the time, we were eventually able to spin-off the department and create a new successful company!
Even though this story highlights a big lapse in judgment, the ability to learn from your mistakes, or those of your team, is an important and valuable skill. Furthermore, the ability to re-group and re-focus one’s efforts after such a “failure” shows both resilience and a positive attitude.