Seduced by Success

How the Best Companies Survive the 9 Traps of Winning

Robert J. Herbold

McGraw-Hill, March 2007

In Seduced by Success, Robert J. Herbold, the former Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft, shows you how to avoid the nine traps of success-the “legacy practices” that almost felled such giants as General Motors, Kodak and Sony. Herbold, a 26-year-veteran of Procter & Gamble who lived through each trap, gives you proven tactics for preventing arrogance, bloat, and neglect while capitalizing on your accomplishments, sustaining your momentum, and retaining your position in the marketplace.

The nine traps every successful organization must avoid are

  • Neglect: Sticking with Yesterday’s Business Model
  • Pride: Allowing Your Products to Become Outdated
  • Boredom: Clinging to Your Once-Successful Branding
  • Complexity: Ignoring Your Business Processes
  • Bloat: Rationalizing Your Loss of Speed and Agility
  • Mediocrity: Letting Your Star Employees Languish
  • Lethargy: Getting Lulled into a Culture of Comfort
  • Timidity: Not Confronting Turf Wars and Obstructionists
  • Confusion: Unwittingly Conducting Schizophrenic Communications

These mistakes cut your business legs off at the knees, destroying your ability to recognize and meet the need for change. Herbold shows you how to avoid these landmines by

  • Continually revitalizing your brands and products
  • Demanding new approaches to “proven” practices
  • Maintaining speed and agility through strong leadership
  • Making sure employees are empowered to achieve and not handicapped by bureaucracy
  • Using an exciting new product to overhaul your culture

For each success trap, Herbold provides illuminating examples of top companies that were seduced by their success-as well as others that managed to maintain and even broaden their achievements. Seduced by Success is the best way to ensure your company sustains its success for the long term.

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About the Author

Robert J. Herbold was hired by Bill Gates to be Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft Corporation. During his seven years as COO, from 1994 to 2001, Microsoft experienced a fourfold increase in revenue and a sevenfold increase in profits. Prior to Microsoft, Herbold spent 26 years at The Procter & Gamble Company, the last five years as Senior Vice President of Marketing. Herbold is now the Managing Director of Herbold Group, LLC. He is also a Senior Executive in Residence at INSEAD in Singapore, a member of President Bush’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and a director serving on several corporate boards.