Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ongoing education requires an open mind

"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."
-- Malcolm S. Forbes

Mary Callahan Edros, CEO of JPMorgan Private Bank, is profiled in today's NY TImes column, The Boss.

In it, she tells of recovering from an early career blunder in handling a client's account that cost the client a seven figure loss in his holding. How she dealt with this experience is instructive for all business owners and entrepreneurs.

As soon as she realized the situation, she got on a plane and flew to Louisiana to meet with the client. When she explained that one of the client's major holdings was about to go bankrupt, the client wanted to know how this happened. Mary Edros explained that she had made a bad choice and took responsibility for the decision. The client then asked what they should do about the situation going forward.

The experience marked a major milestone for Mary Edros for the following reasons. She learned that:
  • Taking responsibility means accepting the consequences for both strong and poor performance.
  • Staying connected and staying in communication with your client makes a world of difference.
  • How you handle yourself under adverse conditions can as easily mean a positive turn in a business relationship as it could a negative turn. The client is still with her, 7 years later.
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