Lean Coach Brian Buck’s Favorite Mistake


My friend Brian Buck is the most recent guest on the “My Favorite Mistake” podcast series, Episode 112:

Coach Brian Buck's Darkest Moment in a Workplace Turned Toxic

In today's episode, Brian shares his “favorite mistake” story about waiting too long to address being in a good workplace that turned toxic. Why was this his “darkest moment”? Why was this all a “never again moment” for Brian?

Have you stuck with a job in a toxic work environment too long?

I was interviewed yesterday on the Laura Coates Show (SiriusXM) about mistakes people make when quitting a job (and we talked about My Favorite Mistake). I've quit jobs before for different reasons — General Motors, Dell, Factory Logic (a software company), Honeywell, J&J, and the Lean Enterprise Institute. I haven't quit a job in over a decade.

But, there's the mistake of quitting and, sometimes, the mistake of NOT quitting.

When I joined General Motors in 1995, I was quite miserable. It was a bad environment. But, had I bailed and quit after a year, I wouldn't have had the turnaround experience of working under a NUMMI-trained plant manager.

Sometimes I wish I had stuck with the new regime for another year. Had I tried to defer my MIT education to start in 1998 instead of 1997, I would have had another year under great leadership, to see (and participate in) more of the Lean turnaround that was taking place. But, all things happen for a reason. I'm glad I didn't quit too soon… but maybe I did quit a year too soon. Oh well, I don't lose sleep over that.

Sometimes, an environment is so bad, you really do have to just leave.

You can listen to or watch Brian's episode below. You can also read a transcript and more on the episode's page.

Some other recent episodes, that while not Lean related, have that same spirit of reflection and learning from mistakes.

Sales Expert (and Stand Up Comedian) Merit Kahn Didn't Read the Room

Software Engineer Moses Harris Tried Bowing to Power and Got Fired Anyway

Business Coach Karie Kaufmann on the Illusion of Balance

A Martial Arts Black Belt on Overpaying for a Company and Other Negotiating Mistakes: Cash Nickerson

Bookkeeping Wasn't Her First Career Passion: Ean Price Murphy

Feeling Ashamed of Being Dyslexic and Getting Past That in Business and in Life: Scott Ballard

The Time Value of Life: Andrea Jones on Taking Years to Get Over Feeling Like a Failure

Fred Moore Learned to Make Himself Irreplaceable in His Job as a Magician

Dr. Cheryl Lentz: Running From the Failure of Trying to be a Top-Level Organist

C-Level Execs Rolly Keenan and Mike Geller Both Learned From Mistakes

I hope you'll check them out. If you have a “favorite mistake” story you'd like to share, let me know.

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Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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