Marine LTC Janet Polach Lost Her Temper in a Corporate Meeting — It Was a Bad Fit

Marine LTC Janet Polach Lost Her Temper in a Corporate Meeting — It Was a Bad Fit


Check out all episodes on the My Favorite Mistake main page.

My guest for Episode #175 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Janet L. Polach, Ph.D. She is a global leadership development partner and coach.  She has developed leaders in the U.S. and around the world.

As a retired lieutenant colonel having spent 20 years in the Marines, Janet knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a great leader.

After receiving her Ph.D. in organizational development and working with a global consulting firm in China, Janet launched her own consulting practice helping hundreds of companies across the globe including major brands and government contractors.

Her no-nonsense but lighthearted approach is what separates her from the boys and creates transformational results for even the most struggling leaders. She’s also the author of the book The Seven Mistakes New Managers Make.

Her website is

In this episode, Janet tells her favorite mistake story about losing her patience and losing her temper in front of others. She was working in the private sector and realized that a business partner hadn't held of their end of the bargain. But Janet agrees we need to “live and learn,” so she shared what she learned and how she adjusted from this encounter.

We also talk about questions and topics including:

  • Praise publicly, criticize privately?
  • What was the culture in the Marines regarding criticism
  • Look for red flags during the interviewing process… 
  • I think of Marines as being very serious, with a serious mission… why do you think it’s important to have a “lighthearted” approach?
  • Why write a book about leadership mistakes? Is that more helpful than saying what TO do?
  • “We don’t train brand new leaders”
  • How to do an effective 1×1??
  • Mistakes that ORGANIZATIONS make — promoting the best individual contributor to a management role?
  • Telling managers to basically just figure out how to manage?
  • $166 billion is spent every year on leadership training but companies are still struggling due to a lack of leadership — WHY?
  • How does the Marine Corps teach leadership? Classroom, behaviors modeled by senior leaders? Coaching?
  • Mistakes in change management… what mistakes to leaders make and what should they do to full engage if not excite people about change?
  • There are many mistakes we might make in giving feedback to somebody… what comes to mind and what do you recommend?
  • Congrats again on the publication of your book… I understand there was/were Book(s) you attempted to write but didn’t finish?

Scroll down to find:

  • Video of the episode
  • Quotes
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

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Watch the Full Episode:


"What I learned is, first of all, some people just aren't made to work together. Fit matters."
 "We don't train brand new managers. We spend a lot of money developing leaders, but we usually do it at the very top of the organizations. We promote people because they're really good individual contributors. And so we think they can be good managers when in fact those skills don't overlap very much."
"They're not resistant to change. They're unknowledgeable about the change. If you suddenly came to a group and said, 'OK, now we're gonna turn right' and you gave them no explanation about why we're gonna turn right. What happens when we turn, right? What happens if we don't turn right? "

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's upcoming book is The Mistakes That Make Us. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.