Why Leaders Don’t Learn from Success

Sales Lead Generation: To Learn, You Need to Fail. Let’s Celebrate Failure!

Love this article from Harvard Business Review on how businesses do not learn from success. They learn much more from failure.

Read it at http://hbr.org/2011/04/why-leaders-dont-learn-from-success/ar/1 or click the image.

The authors say “Success can breed failure by hindering learning.”

When we are successful we make three mistakes:

  1. Fundamental attribution error - Assigning the wrong cause (like how smart we are) rather than the real reason for success.
  2. Overconfidence bias - Success leads to self-assurance. They think “We can do no wrong.”
  3. Failure to ask why - Don’t see the need to ask the tough questions needed.

Those three errors keep executives from looking in the mirror for answers. They may look and think “Boy, we’re good.” or “Launching that product was brilliant!” or even “Things look good for the rest of the year.” Problem is, they are not that good, the reason for their success was something other than that product, and lots can change in a short amount of time.

This article is filled with examples and a lot of information on the fundamental problem. I suggest all CEOs and Board Members read it.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers. He’s presenting at the 140 Social Media Conference on Long Island on May 26th and appearing on Sales Lead Management Radio on June 9th.

Find New Customers helps companies (with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses) to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.