Highly Successful Loser… Guaranteed!

If you could “sit at the feet” and learn from a world-class leader and teacher… in order to understand and avoid The Ten Commandments for Business Failure, would you take the time and expend the energy to do so?  A highly successful leader who, for over a decade, was responsible for world-wide operations in over 200 countries around the world for The Coca-Cola Company, the best known brand in the world?

During the remarkable tenure of Don Keough, president and COO, and Roberto Goizueta, chairman and CEO, the market value of Coca-Cola went from 4 billion to 145 billion!  That is not a misprint… 4 billion to 145 billion!  The ultimate goal of the board and executive leadership of a for-profit company is to increase shareholder value. Without question, Don and Roberto dramatically increased shareholder value. They also built a solid, enduring, world-wide company based on excellent values and staffed with highly competent people from around the world.

Learning and knowing ‘what not to do’ is every bit as important as learning and knowing‘what to do.’  Some experts would argue that learning, knowing and consistently avoiding ‘what not to do’ is more important than knowing ‘what to do.’

For the next several weeks Tips for Success will feature and discuss the priceless experience, expertise, knowledge, wisdom and advice contained in the book The Ten Commandments for Business Failure by Donald R. Keough.  The book is published by Penquin Group and is available via all major booksellers.  Obviously, I highly recommend the book.  Excellent, highly relevant content written by a master leader, teacher and storyteller!

Don Keough explains the genesis of the book:

“I was invited to be the keynote speaker at a large convention of customers.  In short, they asked for the secrets of success.  I’ve never been able to develop a set of rules or a step-by-step formula that will guarantee success in anything, much less in a field as dynamic and changing as business.  My response was I couldn’t do that.  What I could do, however, was talk about how to lose and I offered a guarantee that anyone who followed my formula would be a highly successful loser.

So, I delivered a little speech that has been refined over time into Keough’s Ten Commandments for Business Failure and which evolved over more time into this little book, which draws on more than sixty years of experience.”

While with Coca-Cola, Don “met with presidents, dictators, captains of industry, poets, painters, and movie stars.”  He had “the privilege of talking with Coca-Cola bottler partners, retail food store customers and consumers in every corner of the globe from the Arctic Circle to the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego, from mainland China to anarchic corners of sub-Saharan Africa.”  Talk about a wealth of experience, expertise, knowledge and wisdom… Don Keough has it in spades!

You may have achieved some measure, or even a great deal of success. To you, Don Keough writes:

“In fact, the more you have achieved, the more these commandments apply to you.  If you are the leader of an enterprise, large or small, that is achieving great sales and profits, be careful.  That is the time you are in danger of grasping one of my commandments and failure is just around the corner.”

I invite you to join all readers of Tips for Success as we carefully study and reinforce our knowledge and commitment as to how to most effectively avoid these critical Ten Commandments of Business Failure in our personal and professional lives.  As Don Keough put it:

“View this little book as a cautionary tale.  If you find yourself a disciple of one or more of these commandments, watch out.  You are on your way to failure and taking you company with you.”

Buy the book, be sure to carefully read the next few issues of Tips for Success…  and join the conversation.

Next week we will address Commandment One, which is “Quit Taking Risks!”


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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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