When You Shouldn’t Go Global,” by Marcus Alexander and Harry Korine, in the December 2008 issue of Harvard Business Review, does precisely the kind of analysis that companies should be doing continually as they evaluate whether to pursue a strategy. In evaluating whether it makes sense for a company to expand globally, the authors don’t just look at success stories–which is what strategists typically do as they search for companies to emulate. The authors dig up examples of companies that went global and flopped. They then suggest pitfalls to avoid.

Trying to avoid failure may not sound as glamorous as aspiring to great success, but, then, having your career derailed because of a catastrophe isn’t so glamorous, either.

“Seven Ways to Fail Big,” our companion article to Billion-Dollar Lessons, appears in the September issue of the Harvard Business Review. An audio slide show presentation is also available.