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Babson Dean and Author Elaine Eisenman to Wellesley Chamber: "Failure helps you understand how strong you are and can be"


Elaine Eisenman, Dean, Babson Executive Education and author, I didn't See It Coming—How to Avoid Being Blindsided in Business, told Wellesley Chamber members to “Make mistakes, fail now and then, because the surest road to failure is unbroken success.”

The event was the Babson College/Wellesley Bank Business Series at the Wellesley Chamber's Networking Before 9 breakfast held here at Babson.

Eisenman's focus was on what small business owners need to know to avoid being blindsided—that is any situation where something catches you by surprise.  “Most business owners look straight ahead and miss all the environmental cues,” said Eisenman, “The consequences of not really seeing is that 10-20% of small growing businesses do not survive beyond five years.”

According to Eisenman, because entrepreneurs are action-oriented, they spend little time and thought on self-assessment, self-awarenessSome of the  landmines that leave them blindsided include:

Insular thinking—delusion of invulnerability; you need to have an external board of advisors to keep you on track.

Unrealistic optimism—entrepreneurs are prone to this, 81% believe they will be 100% successful.

Anchoring—when all perceived risks are tagged to personal experience leaving no room for contrary input, or new fix-it ideas.

Base rates—paying attention solely to something makes it more prevalent, narrowing your “seeing” field.

The challenge, says Eisenman, is to balance these traps with outside perspectives and other considerations.  What else is going on in the environment?  You must read it thoroughly and frequently to make sure you have the full picture.

“With mistakes,” said Eisenman, “The key is not avoiding them, but managing their cost.  Real success is learning and growing from them.” 

For more about, and to order Eisenman's new book, I didn't see it coming:  The only book you'll ever need to avoid being blindsided in business, go to: .