08 June 2002

To err is human - why isn't to succeed?

Whenever MBAtypes talk about success, it's in terms of terms like business models, economic profit, cost of capital, competitive advantage, return on equity, participation strategy, and total shareholder return. Failure, one assumes, is the absence of those things. Fortune's recent take on why companies fail was a refreshing reminder that success and failure can be rather more human than what's in the spreadsheets: fear of the boss, a dangerous culture, quick fix strategising, complacency of success. These sound like the human factors that really matter.

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