You can absolutely do things guaranteed to make your business fail. But unfortunately, there aren’t things you can do which are guaranteed to make your business succeed.
It is the same asymmetry at play in Seneca’s sage quote that _”an age builds up cities: an hour destroys them. In a moment the ashes are made, but a forest is a long time growing._” (it’s almost as if he were Greta’s grandad!)
Businesses, like cities, like the environment, like society, and like people, are complex and delicate systems. So you need to be constantly sensitive, balancing, nudging, averting. All of that takes time, effort, wisdom. And all of that makes guarantees of success elusive.
But it takes one lie (Theranos anyone?), one volcano, one match, one maniac, one bullet – and all of those systems come down in a heap.
What do we do with that asymmetry? Two rules, simply stated, tough to implement.
First, avoid the things guaranteed to make your business (or city, or environment, etc) fail.
Then, do the things that raise the probability of your business succeeding. Which means thinking holistically, having clarity of direction and values, and applying discipline in how you work.
In a bit more detail …
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