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Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal?

Author: Robert E Mittelstaedt, Jr.

Publisher: Wharton School Publishing

ISBN: Melanie Smith

Summary:Robert explains how to avoid the chain of mistakes that can destroy your organization.

What do the failure of Enron, the Watergate Scandal, the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, and most airline crashes have in common?  Robert claims that it would be impossible to make each of these things happen without a serious sequence of errors going unchecked.  This sounds reassuring to those in business that consider their processes for mistakes management to be in place and foolproof, but are you really covered?

This is not a book about crisis management.  It is about culture, discipline and learning from the experiences of others.  This publication maintains that whilst the specifics may be different across industries and situations, the patterns of mistakes preceding the incidents are quite similar.  Reassuringly, it also states that through exposure to these experiences it is possible to become observant enough to intervene early (thus minimising damage) or avoid these mistakes altogether.  This therefore opens up a vast amount of learning opportunities for those who wish to re-examine and perhaps challenge their current procedures.

Split into 10 chapters, this publication works through various historical failures (ranging from the Titanic to “New Coke”), and in each example Robert presents a breakdown of the errors made and offers valuable insights.  The final chapter in this book is dedicated to making the management of multiple mistakes part of a culture for success.  It offers concepts and structures to make this process as straightforward and streamlined as possible for the reader.

With endorsements from major business figures such as Craig E Weatherup (The Pepsi-Cola Company); Ronald D Sugar (Northrop Grumman Corporation); and Michael D Zisman (IBM), this publication can not fail to attract attention.  All in all, a very interesting and insightful read.