Manager’s who develop leadership skills early on in their careers are better able to avoid the common pitfalls that lead to making a mistake that becomes a fatal error for the business.
In this wonderfully unique book, Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal? by Robert E. Mittelstaedt, Jr., we learn from several examples what business leaders do wrong that prevents them from making fatal errors that could have been easily avoided.
The author reminds leaders to never get too far away from steering the ship. While you can surround yourself with very talented and capable managers, you should never allow yourself to get too far away from the frontline.
In order for you to properly address future issues you need to maintain a present-day perspective on what it takes for your frontline people to be successful. Therefore, you must stay connected with that core group in order to best serve them and your customers.
Small business owners in particular can gain tremendous insights from Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal? Many of the mistakes made by small business owners are the very same as those made by CEO’s of corporate giants. However, the difference is that the small business owner does not possess the level of resources that a larger organization enjoys.
"Only those who are willing to take risks will ever find out how far they can go. Taking good calculated risk is the trick!"
As a result of having a greater amount of financial cushion, a large organization can withstand the blow of a mistake that can otherwise become fatal to the small business owner.
Due to the greater level of risk, small business owners must develop leadership skill that is effective. Having strong business planning and leadership knowledge is crucial to every new venture.
Mittelstaedt also makes the point that the culture of an organization can be a great asset, or it can be a liability that becomes the fatal mistake if not closely observed and nurtured.
For instance, a culture of “win at all costs”, or “victory or bust” may very well be the spur that creates an organization’s initial success – yet over time this very same mantra can become a stake in the heart of an otherwise promising company.
A company that is too proud to seek out and identify its areas for improvement will eventually suffer from its shortsightedness.
The sad fact is that most business cultures develop over time, by accident. Sometimes this works out well and is in the company’s best interest over time, and sometimes the culture becomes a fatal mistake that eventually takes the company down.
Organizations like McDonalds and Southwest Airlines are examples where the leaders established a clear vision of what the culture would be. As a result of their well thought out planning, these organizations have prospered due in part to a strong, vibrant and healthy corporate culture of staying laser-beam-focused on the customers they serve.
Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal?: Avoiding the Chain of Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Organization is an energetic book that identifies real issues and provides reasonable solutions for business managers to develop leadership skill to avoid fatal business mistakes.
In the final chapter “Making M3 Part of Your Culture for Success”, Mittelstaedt warns readers to not make the fatal mistake of avoiding making any mistakes at all.
While failure must be managed closely, it’s also important for leaders to develop leadership skill insights to understand that it’s only through making mistakes that most people learn and grow. Therefore, the key is to avoid the major, most costly and dangerous mistakes, while still empowering and even encouraging team members to take educated risks.
Workers must understand that risk is the pathway to reward, but we must help people manage risk carefully and thoughtfully in order to minimize risk to the larger organization.
Craig E. Weatherup, Former Chairman and CEO of Pepsi-Cola Company states, “Failure, what leader hasn’t been there? The trick, as Bob Mittelstaedt’s insights illustrate, is that you can and must avoid the type of unseen failures that drive you and your company off the proverbial cliff.”
Lewis E. Platt, Chairman of the Boeing Company said, “We all believe mistakes are unavoidable. This book will teach you, through memorable examples, how to avoid the most common mistakes which can severely impact outcomes in the business world.”
A manager looking to develop leadership skill and expertise only need look back to the recent events of Worldcom, Enron, and more recently Bank of America and Washington Mutual to see the potential pitfalls of undisciplined leadership.
"You can measure your opportunity with the same yardstick that measures the risk involved. They go together."
Additional examples of fatal mistakes include the decisions made behind the Watergate scandal, the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, and most airline crashes.
The simple truth is that almost all fatal mistakes can be avoided if the leadership is effective as managing risk.
Mittelstaedt, while sharing his insights on how to avoid fatal mistakes, does a nice job of empowering readers with realistic solutions for them to sink their teeth into.
Compelling and motivational, Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal? is a terrific reminder for all leaders to take the time to develop leadership skill and expertise in the area of risk management.
Develop leadership skill and expertise by following these well laid out best practice lessons and ideas.
Robert E. Mittelstaedt is Dean and professor of the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, and former, Vice Dean and Director, Aresty Institute of Executive Education, The Wharton School.
"Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing."- Denis Waitley