Billion Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn from the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years

This is the flipside to Good to Great. Instead of looking at successful companies, Billion Dollar Lessons looks into 750 failures to study the lessons from strategic failure and misguided tactics. Those strategic failures start to add up, between 1981 and 2006, 423 major publicly held U.S. companies with combined assets totaling $1.5 trillion filed for bankruptcy.

Part One: Failure Patterns

Carroll and Mui found that the number one cause of failure was misguided strategy—not sloppy execution, poor leadership, or bad luck. These strategic errors fall into seven categories, including:

  1. Synergy
  2. Financial Engineering
  3. Rollups
  4. Staying the Misguided Course
  5. Missteps into Adjacent markets
  6. Wrong Waves
  7. Consolidation Blues

Part Two: Avoiding the Same Mistakes

Unleash the value of conflict.