Why Smart Executives Fail
And What You Can Learn from Their Mistakes
A definitive study of executive failures-why they happen and how to prevent them.
There's a scenario that keeps repeating itself in today's business climate. A company is voted one of the most admired in the world. Then three or four years later, it's in dire financial trouble. A CEO is celebrated on the covers of BusinessWeek, Forbes, and Fortune. Soon after, the company is in the midst of a disastrous merger or some other fiasco.
What goes wrong in these cases? Usually it seems that the top management made some incredibly stupid mistake. But the people responsible are almost always remarkably intelligent and usually have terrific track records. Even more puzzling than the fact that brilliant managers can make bad mistakes is the way they so often magnify the damage. Once a company has made a bad misstep, 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 program ever devoted to business breakdowns. In Why Smart Executives Fail, he uncovers-with startling clarity and unassailable documentation-the causes regularly responsible for major business breakdowns. Why Smart Executives Fail 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-have audiobook that explains the mechanics of executive breakdowns, how to avoid them, and what to do about them if they happen.