2. Finding a way around obstacles
“I’ve always told people throughout my career that, when the door is closed, you’ve got to find a window, and you never give up.” —Bill Hawkins, former CEO of Medtronic
Bill Hawkins, who spoke at DeviceTalks in 2015, taught me this lesson when he was describing his bid to attend the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, despite being rejected for admission.
“I said, ‘I’m not going to let that go,’ so I called the admissions director and I said to him, ‘I think you’ve made a mistake, and I got the wrong letter, and I’d like to come down and tell you why you made a mistake.’”
You can probably guess how the rest of the story plays out, but it’s another of the enduring lessons of leadership that so many leaders I’ve spoken to share. When each of them encounter a wall in their way of a goal, they don’t just continue to ram their head against it, they find a way around, or they build a ladder and climb over it.