This week I read Donald Keough's The Ten Commandments for Business Failure. With easily digestible prose, clear examples, humility and humour - it's lessons are quickly understood and applicable well beyond the realm of business and for anyone interested in leading successful collaborations. As former President of The Coca-Cola Company and one of the world's most sought after executive speakers, Keough, while quick to dispel any (or anyone's) claim of a legitimate silver bullet formula for success, is profoundly bullish on history's tried and true signs of failure. Indeed, in example after example, and across sectors, cultures and historical contexts there lies ten blunders that companies and individuals make, and that when made over and over again they lead to failure so consistently that the list ought to be written in stone.
Without further delay, the ten hallmarks of the pathway to failure are:
01 - Quit taking risks
02 - Be inflexible
03 - Isolate yourself
04 - Assume Infallibility
05 - Play the game close to the foul line
06 - Don't take time to think
07 - Put all your faith in experts and outside consultants
08 - Love your bureaucracy
09 - Send mixed messages
10 - Be afraid of the future
Despite most being understood or quickly researchable from their names, I dare not elaborate more in this post and instead encourage you to pick-up a copy of the (short!) book or find one of his speeches online to consume, for Keough, like all great leaders, are masters of simplicity whose words are best spoken themselves.