Billion-Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn from Business Failures Stanford Executive Brief with Chunka Mui

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Many people focus on what successful businesses did right rather than learning from what a failed business did wrong. In Billion-Dollar Lessons, the research of consultants Chunka Mui and Paul Carroll is presented which focuses on 750 of the most noteworthy failures in business from the previous 25 years.

Surprisingly, the pair discovered that the common culprits, like poor execution, lack of leadership or plain bad luck, were actually not to blame in most cases. The number one cause was actually a misguided strategy. The 7 most common strategic failure patterns are provided along with supporting examples.  The viewer can discover how misguided adjacencies, illusions of synergy and bad financial engineering come into play. Mui also discusses red flags that hinted at the business’ downward spiral.

According to Mui, human beings are hard wires for making bad decisions when facing complex situations. We often focus on answers before we have reviewed all the facts, then look for evidence that supports our conclusions. Emotion, loyalties and “group think” all adversely influence decisions. Mui shares how decision making can be improved by encouraging conflict and the questioning of our assumptions. This type of approach is the key to establishing a full strategy that will succeed.

Chunka Mui is a partner with Cornerloft Partners, LLC. And fellow with Diamond Management & Technology. He co-authored Unleashing the Killer App, Design Strategies for Market Dominance and Billion Dollar Lessons. Through Mui’s experience and knowledge, we can discover:

  • How to identify possible pitfalls when establishing a strategy
  • The importance of questioning and not assuming
  • How to learn from the business failures of the past
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