The Wisdom of Failure: How to Learn the Tough Leadership Lessons Without Paying the Price

Overview

Praise for The Wisdom of Failure

"After reading only one of the chapter headings of The Wisdom of Failure—'Does This Doorframe Make My Head Look Big?'—I knew I was in for a real treat. Luckily for me, the rest of the book does not disappoint. Through their analysis of many pointed leadership examples in American business, the authors distill corporate lessons into pearls of wisdom from which all of us can learn."
—Marshall Goldsmith, New York ...

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The Wisdom of Failure: How to Learn the Tough Leadership Lessons Without Paying the Price

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Overview

Praise for The Wisdom of Failure

"After reading only one of the chapter headings of The Wisdom of Failure—'Does This Doorframe Make My Head Look Big?'—I knew I was in for a real treat. Luckily for me, the rest of the book does not disappoint. Through their analysis of many pointed leadership examples in American business, the authors distill corporate lessons into pearls of wisdom from which all of us can learn."
—Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times bestselling author, MOJO and What Got You Here Won't Get You There

"A definitive piece of work that makes a most compelling connection between understanding failure and experiencing success. A must-read for serious-minded leaders who want to take their businesses to higher ground in an enduring way."
—Douglas R. Conant, former president, CEO, and director, Campbell Soup Company; New York Times bestselling author, Touchpoints

"In this important new book from Weinzimmer and McConoughey, we discover how true it is, that the best leaders are the best learners. The Wisdom of Failure is a rare, honest look at both sides of the leadership story. Solidly researched and filled with practical examples you can apply immediately, this book should be read by leaders across the board."
—Jim Kouzes, Dean's Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University; bestselling coauthor, The Leadership Challenge

"All great leaders learn from their mistakes, but mistakes are a precious and costly resource. This provocative and thoughtful book allows you to learn from others' mistakes, so you can learn without paying the price. Buy copies for everyone on your team and leverage these lessons on your journey to creating extraordinary results."
—Saj-nicole Joni, confidential CEO advisor; bestselling author, The Right Fight

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“After reading only one of the chapter headings of The Wisdom of Failure—‘Does This Doorframe Make My Head Look Big?’—I knew I was in for a real treat. Luckily for me, the rest of the book does not disappoint. Through their analysis of many pointed leadership examples in American business, the authors distill corporate lessons into pearls of wisdom from which all of us can learn.”
—Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times bestselling author, MOJO and What Got You Here Won't Get You There

“A definitive piece of work that makes a most compelling connection between understanding failure and experiencing success. A must-read for serious-minded leaders who want to take their businesses to higher ground in an enduring way.”
—Douglas R. Conant, former president, CEO, and director, Campbell Soup Company; New York Times bestselling author, Touchpoints

“In this important new book from Weinzimmer and McConoughey, we discover how true it is, that the best leaders are the best learners. The Wisdom of Failure is a rare, honest look at both sides of the leadership story. Solidly researched and filled with practical examples you can apply immediately, this book should be read by leaders across the board.”
—Jim Kouzes, Dean's Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University; bestselling coauthor, The Leadership Challenge

“All great leaders learn from their mistakes, but mistakes are a precious and costly resource. This provocative and thoughtful book allows you to learn from others’ mistakes, so you can learn without paying the price. Buy copies for everyone on your team and leverage these lessons on your journey to creating extraordinary results.”
—Saj-nicole Joni, confidential CEO advisor; bestselling author, The Right Fight

The Wisdom of Failure is an epiphany. From the very first chapter, Weinzimmer and McConoughey shift the reader’s focus beyond short term accolades and trade-offs to a horizon where a leader can find true success and accomplishment. In their well-researched book, the authors give leaders the tough love they need to learn from their mistakes before their mistakes become costly. A must-read for aspiring, new, and seasoned leaders.”
—Jennifer Robin, Ph.D., author, The Great Workplace

“The importance of understanding failure’s lessons cannot be overstated in today’s fast-moving business environment, and The Wisdom of Failure offers a smart research-based guide to navigating these tough leadership lessons. You’ll be engaged from the very first page.”
—Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School; author, Teaming

The Wisdom of Failure allows you to benefit from the inevitable growth that comes from failure without having to experience it first-hand. An invaluable read for anyone striving to move themselves and their business forward.”
—Dan Schawbel, founder, Millennial Branding; author, Me 2.0

“Never before has learning from failure been more important—to innovation, to learning, to strategy under uncertainty, and to the development of the next generation of leaders. Ironically, in many organizations the attitude towards failure virtually guarantees not only that people won’t learn its valuable lessons but that they will also suffer the brunt of its downsides. This well-researched and accessible book is a timely summary of how failure can be useful, even essential, and serves as a welcome reminder of the importance of ‘failing forward.’”
—Rita Gunther McGrath, strategy and innovation advisor, Columbia Business School Professor; coauthor, Discovery-Driven Growth

“Having worked with hundreds of emerging companies, I have seen failure in all flavors! Finally we have, in one well-written book, the lessons learned from such experiences. The Wisdom of Failure is an instant business classic destined for the tablets and shelves of our innovation economy’s leaders.”
—Larry Weber, chairman and CEO, W2 Group

“Leaders become great only when they have overcome adversity. We learn how to grow from our setbacks. Weinzimmer and McConoughey have created a simple framework and practical methodology to develop an organizational culture that encourages productive innovation. The Wisdom of Failure provides us with the research, case studies, and tools to transform our failures into our biggest successes.”
—Jeff DeGraff, professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; author, Innovation You, Leading Innovation, and Creativity at Work

“Every truly great leader has experienced failure and (more important) learned from it. Organizations that support ‘smart’ failure are more innovative, adaptable, resilient, and profitable. In The Wisdom of Failure, Weinzimmer and McConoughey have distilled the key factors that are most likely to push every one of us off track, and outlined the practices that leaders, teams, and entire organizations can use to navigate around those hazards. If you aren’t pushing yourself to the point where failure is a possibility, you are not coming close to your potential as a leader. But in today’s times, where acceleration is the new normal, you’ll need this book as your guide.”
—Eric McNulty, editor, Harvard School of Public Health; coauthor, You’re It! Lessons from Crisis Meta-Leadership

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118135013
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/9/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 487,076
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurence G. Weinzimmer is an endowed professor of management at Bradley University. He is an internationally recognized speaker and advisor to numerous Fortune 100 companies on issues relating to strategy and leadership. He is the author of the bestseller Fast Growth: How to Attain It, How to Sustain It.

Jim McConoughey is an experienced CEO, sought-after business development and community leadership expert, and an active fund manager for venture and early-stage capital investments. Jim's particular focus is working with small to mid-size organizations to identify and evaluate strategic growth opportunities.For more information please visit www.TheWisdomofFailure.com

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Table of Contents

1 Flawless Leadership: Learning the Lessons Without Paying the Price 1

Part 1 Unbalanced Orchestration

2 Seduced by Yes: Trying to Be All Things to All People 31

3 Businesses You Have No Business Being In: Roaming Outside the Box 57

4 Entrenched in Efficiency: Forgetting to Put Effectiveness First 77

Part 2 Drama Management

5 The Playground in the Workplace: Leaders Who Rule by Bullying 101

6 When Utopia Becomes Dystopia: Problems with Dysfunctional Harmony 125

7 The Battle Within: Distracted Purpose 151

Part 3 Personality Issues

8 Standing in the Way: Hoarding Power and Responsibility 175

9 Living Outside the Storm: The Destructive Path of Disengagement 197

10 "Does This Doorframe Make My Head Look Big?": Problems with Self-Absorbed Leaders 221

A Final Caveat: Walking the Line 241

Notes 245

Acknowledgments 259

Index 261

About the Authors 281

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