Managing for Success

Spotting Danger Signals – And Fixing Problems Before They Happen

The damage that incompetent managers do is incalculable. Every year they wipe tens of billions off the value of companies around the world. But the routinely incompetent behaviour that leads to failure is often covered up, incompetent managers are paid off and the causes of failure are swept under the carpet. Yet, most of these failures could have been avoided if only we knew how to spot the signs of incompetence in advance, and take steps to prevent it happening. Prevention is always better, and cheaper, than cure.

Morgen Witzel tackles the problem of incompetence in the round by exploring the political, cultural, psychological and personal factors that lead to incompetency at every level of business. Arrogance, excessive reliance on formal plans and metrics, lack of professional pride, and poor and misguided business education and training are among the problems that drag businesses down.

Using international case studies from Ford Motor Company, Royal Ahold and Lehman Brothers, practical solutions are provided for avoiding incompetence by changing the culture within organizations and the ways in which managers are trained and developed to truly manage for success and minimise failure.

E Book

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“Morgen Witzel writes with precision, clarity and wisdom about a subject that far too many business books – and leaders – choose to avoid; the social nature of leadership that makes sensible people in good companies make foolish judgements and then follow them through diligently to failure. Read this book, and reflect.” –  Ward Crawford, Former President, Cadbury Adams Japan, and Former Managing Director, Green & Black’s Ltd

“For too long, the focus of business has been solely learning about ‘best-practice’. Well what about learning about ‘bad-practice’ and how to avoid it? Morgen Witzel’s excellent, thoughtful and enjoyable book masterfully addresses this question. Only by learning from corporate weaknesses and failures can we really manage for success. Highly recommended.” –  Antonio E. Weiss, International best-selling author of 101 Business Ideas That Will Change the Way You Work and Key Business Solutions

“There are two reasons why you should read this book. First, it’s a sad fact that one learns more from failure than from success. Better still to learn from other people’s failures. This book can help you do that, showing you how to look out for the early signs of a ‘culture of incompetence’ in your organization and address them before the virus spreads. Secondly, it’s a cracking read. Witzel is an experienced business historian and a master storyteller.” –  Patrick Barwise, emeritus professor, London Business School, co-author of Simply Better and Beyond the Familiar

“This is an intelligently argued and impressively thorough handbook, which ought to be lobbed in to boardrooms and executive offices. Businesses and organizations find so many ways to fail, and Morgen Witzel has charted the most important ones. Read it, and think.” –  Stefan Stern, Financial Times columnist and Visiting Professor at Cass Business School, London

“This is a rare thing – a management book that is both entertaining and an easy read, full of the author’s humanity.” –  Dina Medland, Independent writer on corporate governance and business issues

“This forceful early warning of the importance of managing well gives the book a real moral impetus.” –  Andrew Hill, Management Editor, Financial Times