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Joseph Taylor, chairman and chief executive officer of Panasonic's North American business, is a big believer in the powerful lessons people can learn when things go wrong. The company's turnaround success is a case in point.

Taylor provided Rutgers Business School students with a candid look at the tough decisions, the strategy and leadership that returned the company to profitability after a series of missteps led to huge losses for Panasonic beginning in 2006.

"The trend is positive now," Taylor told the audience at the CEO Lecture Series on Feb. 20 at Rutgers Business School. "We've learned a lot from the mistakes we've made."

Taylor's visit was the latest segment in the CEO Lecture Series, an event that has featured 10 executives including a number of notable Rutgers MBA alums such as Avon Chief Executive Officer Sheri McCoy, Deloitte & Touche CEO Greg Weaver and PSE&G's top boss Ralph Izzo.

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Want to succeed? Top boss at Panasonic USA emphasizes importance of working hard

In a question-and-answer session before the CEO Lecture Series, Panasonic Chief Executive Joseph Taylor spoke about the challenge of leading a company through change, learning from mistakes and what it takes to advance in the business world.

Taylor, who has spent 30 years with Panasonic's U.S. business, said people who are willing to take on new things and make things better will also make mistakes. "If you're not making mistakes, you're not doing anything," he said.

"His advice for students: "Don't be afraid to take risks, make mistakes and work as hard as you can."

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