Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dumbest Business (Career) Moments in 2008

Just read Fortune Magazine's 21 Dumbest Moments in Business 2008. It seemed to me that we could easily reword the title as the "21 Dumbest Career Moves in 2008". Why? Because every one of those so called dumb moments in business, probably ruined someone's career or at least caused a lot of career embarrassment.

We have all made mistakes at work, I am sure. I can't imagine how I would feel, if one of my blunders made Fortune Magazine. I don't think any were as significant as the list here, but nevertheless, I know some people had some sleepless nights over many of these.

Case in point is the # 1 in the list - The CEO's of the big three automakers arriving in Washington DC in three separate private jets to beg the American taxpayer for a loan. As Fortune says, "Like someone arriving at a food bank in a limousine, the chief executives of the three major U.S. automakers spark outrage when they fly their corporate jets to Washington D.C. to beg Congress for a multi-billion dollar bailout".

Talk about a public relations blunder. Do you think anyone lost a job over that oversight?

To make amends for the error, the three CEOs decided that for their next visit, they would take a road trip to DC in hybrids. This was blunder #2 on the list.

Why wasn't that any better? If flying in on a corporate jet was an over sight, driving 10 hours to DC appeared to be over kill. Funniest part of that story is that the car driven by the Chrysler CEO, The Aspen Hybrid, will soon be discontinued. Someone was overthinking on that one for sure.

My other favorite is the CEO of Countrywide Bank, Angelo Mozilo, responding to an email and hitting "Reply All" rather than "Forward". He meant to forward the email to a colleague and instead replies, speaking ill of the home owner/customer who had sent him the email. The poor customer was actually emailing Mozilo, as the CEO of the company to get help with his home loan.

Of course, I don't think Mozilo lost his job over that one. Countrywide had bigger problems. Imagine if that had been another employee of Countrywide. I am thinking that email may have been their last.

Read the entire list here. The one about Steve Jobs from Apple was particularly interesting. If you love politics, both John McCain and President Elect Barack Obama get their props for dumb business moments also in 2008.

If I could pick, I would add Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the career as another major career blunder for 2008 also.


evelyn said...

Good points. We never hear about the fallouts down the line. There was some finger pointing and "CYA'ing" going for sure.

I can't settle on just one but I think McCain picking Palin was carer mistake number 1 in 08.


Marcie said...

You are right Evelyn, some finger pointing definitely took place. I am thinking many of these blunders happen because people were all in overdrive; just acting and reacting. Others happen when there is wrong fit for the job and others when people are just plain distracted - for whatever reason.

We have all been there, I'm sure. The key is how to recover and give other people a graceful way out.


DevGuy said...

I think the mistake with the Steve Jobs should have been higher on the list. In the 24-7 media and everyone pushing to be first, I guess there will be false starts.