For senior executive Bob Weir, writing Why Businesses Fail and the Journey Through Our Irrational Minds was personal. When he fell into a severe depression in August 2012, his highly successful business career – and his life – hung in the balance.
“I recall collapsing in a heap one Saturday afternoon after a work phone call. My very worried wife dragged me to a doctor at which time we both learned what depression was, and what a long road lay ahead.
“Regardless of the success I had around me, or the bolstering from my friends and family, my mind told me it was all a piece of crap. I was trapped in a world of dark thoughts, lacking hope and lost sight of reality. Suicide became an option that seemed like a perfectly rational way to end the suffering. It was a journey through my irrational mind, which thankfully I worked my way out of.
“My passion for helping build more successful businesses and my desire to gain a deeper understanding of the workings of the human mind, lead me on a journey to better understand why so many businesses in New Zealand fail and what we can learn”.
Bob Weir’s observations from 30 years in business are backed by three years of extensive research. He read the reports of over 1000 liquidations and hundreds of court proceedings and documents released by the government under the Official Information Act. He interviewed CEOs and board members of failed businesses, fraudsters, insolvency experts, lawyers and more.
“The more research I did, the clearer it became that success or failure in business was indelibly linked to the minds of the people involved.”
What was the real reason for the failure of South Canterbury Finance? Was it really the fall in coal prices that sank Solid Energy? Why did Pumpkin Patch collapse? Why do over 2000 small businesses go into liquidation every year in New Zealand? Why did David Ross defraud over $100 million from Kiwis’ life savings in the failure of Ross Asset Management? Why did the leaders of these businesses make decisions that ultimately saw the demise of the business they led?
While failures were caused by factors such as excessive debt, no cash, external forces, weak governance, failure to pay taxes and more, all can be linked back to the decisions people did or didn’t make.
“In my MBA, which I completed many years ago, a good cost-benefit analysis was the solution to most things. I have developed a very different view now.”
Why Businesses Fail shows us what role the mind played in the demise of several high profile organisations. Most importantly, it teaches us what can be done to be more successful.
Bob Weir has more than 30 years experience in business including as a senior company executive in Australia and New Zealand. He is an independent director of Workwise – an organisation helping people who are facing mental health challenges including depression, supporting them to return to or stay in employment; a Trustee of Raukura Hauora O Tainui, a health and wellbeing organisation for the Tainui people; and the Chairman of ConneXu that supports people with disabilities live in their own homes. He has also advised hundreds of small businesses through his consultancy, Pinpoint Business. He lives in Waikato with his wife and two children.
Pinpoint Publishing | Published October 2018 | RRP $39.95
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