The Self-Destructive Habits of Good Companies

Sheth, Jagdish N.
August 2007
Self-Destructive Habits of Good Companies - Business Book Summar;2007, Vol. 1 Issue 1, p1
Book Summary
Book summary
In The Self-Destructive Habits of Good Companies, Dr. Jagdish N. Sheth looks at success in business, through the lens of habit, to provide important insights into how "success courts its own demise." The book is offered as an answer to the question posed by a CEO--a fan of the 1980s bestseller, In Search of Excellence--who asked: "Why do good companies fail? Why do world-class businesses, despite having top managers, proven track records of success, innovative products, and seemingly sound competitive positions, go bad?" According to Dr. Sheth, good companies fail because they are unable or unwilling to transform themselves when their external environment changes significantly. His research has found that, on their way to greatness, successful companies often acquire self-destructive habits that eventually undermine their success. Although his research has uncovered an exhaustive list, he found seven, which he believes are crucial to avoid: (1) denial, (2) arrogance, (3) complacency, (4) competency dependence, (5) competitive myopia, (6) territorial impulse, and (7) volume obsession. Like Stephen R. Covey, in his classic bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this author sees habits as powerful, consistent, and often unconscious patterns that "produce our effectiveness or [in this case] our ineffectiveness." But, also like Covey, he believes that habits can be broken-learned and unlearned, not with a quick fix, but with a process and a tremendous commitment. The Self-Destructive Habits of Good Companies details how to begin that process with an exercise in awareness. As Sheth states "Our message is positive: if you're willing to examine yourself honestly enough to discover your weaknesses, you can ultimately transform yourself." Thus, he offers a discussion of success that elucidates, defines, and illustrates seven of the most critical self-destructive habits, examines companies that have exhibited them, and looks at how they have corrected them, or failed to do so. The objective is to show executives, strategists, entrepreneurs, and managers ways to identify such behavior in their businesses and point them back toward healthy and sustainable practices.


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