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VIP Corner: Brian Henson on the reason mistakes can be good for business

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SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring Brian Henson, chairman of The Jim Henson Co.

Brian Henson has a lot to live up to.

His father, Jim Henson, was a “gentle soul” whose leadership style created an environment in which artists could be free to create and flourish under the family entertainment company. As chairman of The Jim Henson Co., Brian Henson said he has tried to emulate his father’s style, focusing on being the keeper of the overall vision while giving others enough freedom on the project — be it a TV series, movie or stage show — to create an end product that’s holistic of the entire group’s effort.

“I try to emulate his approach of really get the most out of people by allowing them to experiment and certainly allowing people to make mistakes,” Henson said.

It’s important to foster a creative working environment that accepts mistakes, Henson said, because it allows people to take risks that could pay off big. And even if it doesn’t, as a leader, it’s important to let employees know that there will always be an alternative plan.

“If everybody’s trying to stay safe, then you never really create something new and different and surprising,” Henson said.

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