4. Strategy—How Do You Know It’s a Mistake?

“It ain’t over till it’s over.”

—Yogi Berra

Examples of mistakes and mistake chains in previous chapters have been easy to recognize. Individuals involved in creating the mistakes may not have recognized them immediately, but recognition was obvious, sometimes brutally so, in a relatively short timeframe. But what if recognition of mistakes takes months, years, or even a decade? Can we speed up the recognition process and break a chain of strategic mistakes early enough to avoid permanent damage?

Some companies seem to do everything right and still end up in trouble. The difficulty, of course, is that business decisions, especially strategy-related decisions, cannot always be judged “right” or “wrong” ...

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