Why Smart Executives Fail

Why Smart Executives Fail

And What You Can Learn from Their Mistakes

Format
Paperback
Price
$17.00
 
Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9781591840459
  • 336 Pages
  • Portfolio
  • Adult

Overview

Bob Pittman and AOL Time Warner. Jean Marie Messier and Vivendi. Jill Barad and Mattel. Dennis Kozlowski and Tyco. It’s an all too common scenario. A great company breaks from the pack; the analysts are in love; the smiling CEO appears on the cover of Fortune. Two years later, the company is in flames, the pension plan is bleeding, the stock is worthless. What goes wrong in these cases? Usually it seems that top management made some incredibly stupid mistakes. But the people responsible are almost always remarkably intelligent and usually have terrific track records. Just as puzzling as the fact that brilliant managers can make bad mistakes is the way they so often magnify the damage. Once a company has made a serious mis-step, it often seems as though it can’t do anything right. How does this happen? Instead of rectifying their mistakes, why do business leaders regularly make them worse? To answer these questions, Sydney Finkelstein has carried out the largest research project ever devoted to corporate mistakes and failures. In WHY SMART EXECUTIVES FAIL, he and his research team uncover-with startling clarity and unassailable documentation-the causes regularly responsible for major business breakdowns. He relates the stories of great business disasters and demonstrates that there are specific, identifiable ways in which many businesses regularly make themselves vulnerable to failure. The result is a truly indispensable, practical, must-read book that explains the mechanics of business failure, how to avoid them, and what to do if they happen.

Table of Contents

Why Smart Executives FailAcknowledgments
Preface

1. Why Smart Executives Fail
What Can Studying Failure Tell You?

Part I: Great Corporate Mistakes
2. New Business Breakdowns
Stories of New Ventures That Don’t Work…and Why

3. Innovation and Change
Choosing Not to Cope

4. Mergers and Acquisitions
The Search for Synergy, the Quest for Integration

Strategy Gone Bad: Doing the Wrong Thing
Why Strategists Misread Competitors and Select “Irrational” Strategies

Part II: The Causes of Failure
6. Brilliantly Fulfilling the Wring Vision
How Executive Mind-set Failures Push Businesses to the Brink…and Beyond

7. Delusions of a Dream Company
How Executives Avoid Facing Reality

8. Tracking Down the Lost Signals
Why Businesses Don’t Act on Vital Information

9. Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful People
The Personal Qualities of Leaders Who Preside over Major Business failures

Part III: Learning From Mistakes
10. Predicting the Future
The Early Warning Signs

11. How Smart Executives Learn
Living-and Surviving-in a World of Mistakes

Notes
Index

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