April 19, 2007

News & Opinion: Bad to Worse (Failure - Part One In A Series)

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 4:53 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

There is no shortage of books written to explain the success of companies. In Search of Excellence and Good to Great are the best known for using this technique. There are not many books that do the opposite—look at why companies failed.

It is worth spending some time on the topic of failure. There are many more companies that fail than succeed. I am sure you have heard the comparison of the companies that were on the Dow Jones Industrials list in 1920 and the fact that General Electric is the only one that remains.

There is one possible constraint to think about. Phil Rosenwieg points out in The Halo Effect, it is hard to distinguish between success and what actually caused the success. There may be similar problems distinguishing failure and its causes. Let's just keep that in mind as we look at a few books that examine the difficulty of keeping businesses going.

This is going to be a series that will run over the next couple of weeks.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.