Pay Heed To The Bells That Toll!

To succeed, you have to first avoid failing. You have to pay heed to the bells that toll, warning of impending pitfalls on the road to success.

Unfortunately, human nature is programmed to shy away from danger and potential pain. Safety, it would appear, lies in keeping quiet, sitting on your hands or burying your head in the sands in the hope that a problem will resolve itself.

Sound familiar? I am sure it does.

Point is, such a stance increases the danger of failing. The problem does not go away; it gets compounded and ultimately brings down mega corporations, individual careers, families and society. This is the central message of Morgen Witzel’s latest book Managing Success: Spotting Danger Signals – And Fixing Problems Before They Happen. 

Since everyone these days is dreaming of being the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, let me shamelessly use that fact and suggest that Witzel’s book is mandatory reading for all those who wish to achieve a successful position and stay there.

More seriously, Witzel’s book should be read not just by CEO’s and Board Directors but anyone in a managerial position. Because, at the end of the day, this world runs on money and for that, jobs need to be not just available but secure.

Witzel brings out this point beautifully when he describes the reactions of the taxi driver, the concierge and the bellman who he encountered on landing in New York on the fateful day when Lehman Brothers failed, triggering a global financial crisis. “All had no other topic of conversation. ‘All those people, the bellman kept saying, all those jobs, all those people,’ as if they were dead rather than merely unemployed.”

According to Witzel, the collapse of Lehman Brothers could have been avoided, along with the failures of innumerable firms such as Enron, Arthur Anderson, Nortel, Nokia

How? By paying heed to the bells that toll, warning of trouble. Bells that sometime begin tolling years before the actual event.

Witzel is by profession a business historian. And, he brings all his skills to bear in tracing the history of several companies such as Lehman Brothers and Ford to prove that failures are not triggered by one-time events. Au contraire. Failures happen because Boards, CEOs and managers allow cultures of incompetence, complacency, arrogance and sycophancy to build over years.

Read the book and I am sure many of you will recognise the symptoms of organizational toxicity that Witzel lays out to examine.

The question then remains as to how do you avoid the same pits that one-time great enterprises such as Lehman and Enron dug for themselves?

Read the book and find out. And then, hopefully, rethink some of the assumptions you are basing your quest for success on!

Witzel also has a brilliant concept to suggest to avoid failure. He calls it ‘Zero-damage management.’

Managing for Success is available on amazon and bloomsbury.

#customersuccess #management #FAILURE #success

Thank you for reading this post. If you enjoyed the read and found value, do check out Is Customer Insensitivity All The RagePerform to Order and Punishing the goodMay I also request that you help spread the good word in this post? All you need to do is take a second and click on any one of the Social Media buttons here. Of course, I would also be delighted if you subscribed to my blog site. Or connected with me via LinkedIn or Twitter where I regularly publish my posts on my feed:)


Featured Image Credit: Book Cover for Managing Success: Spotting Danger Signals – And Fixing Problems Before They Happen – Courtesy Morgen Witzel.


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