Still from “Jack: Straight from the Gut” page 29, paragraph 3.

“When people make mistakes, the last thing they need is discipline.  It’s time for encouragement and confidence building.  The job at this point is to restore self-confidence.  I think “piling on” when someone is down is one of the worst things any of us can do.  It’s a standard joke during GE operating reviews that if one of the business CEOs is getting heat and someone in the room jumps on the bandwagon, the staff team will typically pull out the white hankerchief, toss it in the air, and flag the person for piling on.

Piling on during a weak moment can force people into what I call the ‘GE Vortex’.  It can happen anywhere.  You see the ‘Vortex’ when leaders lose their confidence, begin to panic, and spiral downward into a hole of self-doubt.”

I saw this in practice recently.  I made a doozie of a mistake – one of the biggest in my career.  My CEO, instead of coming down hard on me, actually came out in defense of me, and supportive of my track record and character.

This made all the difference.  I ended up winning the deal, and delivering an exceptionally strong quarter.