Tuesday, September 02, 2008

7 Ways to Fail Big

Paul Carroll and Chunka Mui have a provocative article (Seven Ways to Fail Big) in this month's issue of Harvard Business Review. They studied the 750 of the most significant business failures from 1981-2005, and they identified some key lessons from those cases. While one might quibble with their methodology or even with some of their conclusions, it certainly makes for interesting reading. The article should be commended for not only providing a list of the mistakes that were most often made, but also for offering some suggestions on how to avoid these catastrophes. I especially liked their two sidebars titled "The Devil's Advocate" and "Questions Every Company Should Ask." I think executives would be well-served to consider the techniques presented in those portions of the article.