Sam Keller's TEC Blog

Monday, April 19, 2010

Denial - In Business It Can Be Fatal

"Denial is the unwillingness to acknowledge and deal with reality. It is the choice—sometimes willful, sometimes unconscious, often semiconscious—to enter an 'as if' world, to act 'as if' facts are not facts because they are difficult to face." In business, denial can have disastrous, sometimes fatal, results.

Examples abound in both large and small companies, although we hear more about large companies because they make the financial news. Richard Tedlow discusses many of these examples in his book "Denial - Why Business Leaders Fail to Look Facts in the Face and What to Do About It".

Here's a few:
1. Why didn't Digital Equipment Corp. CEO Kenneth Olsen see the PC as a threat to minicomputers?
2. Did Coca-Cola's Roberto Goizueta really think New Coke was a good idea?
3. How long did Henry Ford think he could keep selling black-only Model Ts?
4. Why did the Challenger disaster of 1986 occur when a hard look at the facts screams "don't launch"?
5. And then there is A&P Foods, IBM, and Sears

Denial is so difficult because the CEO who is in it can't see it. For more information click here.

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