Mistakology/failurology: the Icarus Paradox

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.

Eleanor Roosevelt

The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses.

Francis Bacon.

Icarus paradoxIt is a truism of self-development that you learn more from your mistakes/failures than from your successes. It’s even better still to learn from other people’s, organization’s mistakes/failures, especially if they follow unprecedented successes. To that effect, Dan Miller, coined the expression “The Icarus Paradox”, for the arrogance of outstanding companies leading to their downfall. The paradox is that your greatest assets, talents, victories, strengths may turn into a liability. In his book by the same name, Miller shows through 4 distinct trajectories how these exceptional companies become their own worst enemy. Continue reading

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