Hindsight is 20/20. You may think that you’re making a strategic decision until that decision takes a turn for the worse. Of course, looking back at what went wrong, the red flags seem obvious. Most of the time, these decisions don’t have major consequences — you can learn from them and move on. But occasionally, a lapse in judgement can have huge ramifications.
When a company, or an executive of a company, makes a mistake, it can cost millions or billions of dollars, and permanently tarnish the brand’s reputation. Business mistakes come in all forms. They may be missed opportunities — underestimating the potential of new innovations — or they can be misguided or misunderstood mergers and acquisitions. They may also be caused by lack of research and accountability.
To give you a picture of some of the biggest blunders, we created this infographic detailing 15 of the costliest business mistakes in history.
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As you saw, offenders came from a variety of industries including tech, film, finance, and retail. Some mistakes were as small as a simple math miscalculation, while others were as large as pouring millions into unsuccessful mergers or securities.
Though it can be hard to predict market fluctuations or the success of new technologies, some of these mistakes could have been avoided or minimized by simply listening to customer needs or more carefully checking one’s work.
There is really no formula for avoiding these mistakes, but they can definitely be learned from. They shouldn’t deter you from taking risky (but calculated) decisions. Rather, they should remind you to believe in yourself and your ideas — if George Lucas had not bought the rights to Star Wars he would have missed out on huge opportunities!