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Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal? Avoiding the Chain of Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Organization

by Robert E. Mittelstaedt, Jr.

Published by Wharton School Publishing

Read Excerpt
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Catastrophes don't "just happen." From Enron to the Space Shuttle Columbia, to 9/11, virtually every disaster is the result of a series of mistakes -- each one easy to overlook, each one set in motion because people simply refused to believe the evidence staring right at them.

Robert E. Mittelstaedt, Jr. identifies the common factors beneath massive failures ranging from the Titanic to Firestone Tire, Three Mile Island to "New Coke." Why did they happen? What could have prevented them? How did they spiral out of control? Drawing on these lessons, he introduces the first systematic approach to managing multiple mistakes so they don't lead to disaster.

Mittelstaedt addresses errors in preparation, execution, strategy, and culture. He shows how to build internal systems that trigger loud and actionable alarms before "failure chains" accelerate beyond control. These techniques don't just apply to high-profile disasters: they're equally valuable in helping you avert failures arising from mistakes in operations, analyzing markets, understanding customers, designing and implementing strategy, or directing capital investments.

*38 insights that can save your organization (and your career)
The disasters waiting to happen -- and how to prevent them

*Why your record of success can be your worst enemy
Don't get too confident, don't get too comfortable

*"Can't happen?" Says who?
Identifying and training for your "impossible" worst-case scenarios

*Why reinventing yourself once isn't enough
Knowing when it's time to reinvent yourself again


pub date: 2005-09-28 | hardcover | 9780131913646