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August 08, 2008

#3 -- Biz Book | Tweet by Tweet

My "Biz Book | Tweet by Tweet" experiment ends today. For those unaware, I’ve been sharing super-tight and ultra-pithy takeaways from a worthwhile book, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF BUSINESS FAILURE (Donald Keough). (If you need more backstory, go here.)

Below is the collection of nearly 30 knowledge nuggets from Keough’s book which were first shared on Twitter. Keep mind, I’ve shortened, paraphrased, and augmented Keough’s original lines. However, I did keep the quotes from notable people as is.

Enjoy the snippets and consider reading THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF BUSINESS FAILURE. The book obviously has the Brand Autopsy seal of approval.

Nuggets from Business Failure Commandments

Failed programs are necessary for the lessons they teach us. Part of the price of staying in business is failure.
“The world belongs to the discontented.” – Oscar Wilde
If a company has never failed, they are too complacent and not discontented enough to risk its current state to impact its future state.
“I’m in favor of leaving the status quo the way it is.” — Yogi Berra
Being inflexible and having an infallible belief in having THE formula for sustainable business success is a recipe for failure.
“History is downstream – the future is upstream.” Meaning, it’s easy to go where history guides you.
“History is downstream – the future is upstream.” Meaning, it’s difficult to fight the downstream waters to go upstream into the future.
When managers/execs isolate themselves and build barriers between them and employees (as well as customers), failure is assured.
“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” — John le Carre
Execs that isolate and alienate themselves breed rumor and revolt. However, it’s a winning strategy for business failure.
Success comes truer to businesses when managers/execs know the names of their employees and regularly break bread with employees.
“It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear.” — Dick Cavett
“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” — John Wooden
Failure in business is sure to occur when executives never admit to a problem or a mistake. Assuming infallibility is highly destructive.
Fail faster by always cloaking the truth. Lie. Never shoot straight. Make it a point to fool people at every turn.
Business failure will happen if you never stop to think.
Taking time to think isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. If nobody stops think, a business will make the same mistakes time and time again.
Business failure will occur if you avoid the responsibility to think strategically and instead, put all your faith in outside consultants.
Besides suppressing employee creativity, adding layers of bureaucracy will make a smart company dumb.
The more excitement behind a project will increase urgency and increase the chance bureaucratic blunders will bring about failure.
Failure in business is sure to occur when execs allow administrative concerns to supersede all other day-to-day business activities.
“The problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” — George Bernard Shaw
Sending mixed messages to employees and customers will result in business failure because it will destroy your competitive positioning.
“Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.” — Michael Pritchard
“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed to an uncharted land.” — Helen Keller
Fearing business failure is paralyzing. Fearing the future of your business only guarantees its future will be a failure.
The most serious risk to the success of a business is to not take any risks.
To succeed in business, a business must sow the seeds of failure. Why? … because a company that has never failed, will never succeed.
“To quit taking risks is a serious risk!” Donald Keough, author of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF BUSINESS FAILURE


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Excellent post on failure. I celebrate failure on two schedules: daily, in life and Fridays, on the blog.

I'll use this content and share some shouts for you.

Loved the le Carre' quote. It could be from any of his books. But I'm reading The Honourable Schoolboy right now. And there's the quote on page 64: "To read Sam's moves, Smiley knew that me must stay alert to these and countless other options. A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world."


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