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  • There are three types of people in the world, those who don't know what's happening, those who wonder what's happening and those on the streets that make things happen.

If it sounds good, then it must be true – A Symptom of Denial

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on January 24, 2013

Denial is a dangerous state of mind. And most recently I have seen some of the best “leaders” display it.Much to my dismay.

Management consulting is a wonderful experience. I am usually called when something is either going wrong or is already in the pits. And many times it is too late. I wish people called me during there good times instead, because it is then that lasting improvements can be seeded in an organization’s working. I often mention Genesis 41:54 and how Joseph’s plan saved Egypt. In the corporate world it is even simpler. Preventive measures can keep the “famine” away forever. And these preventive measures need to be undertaken during good times.

We live in a world that bombards us with data. True data and false data. All conceivable calculations and estimations are presented to analyse trends and strategize businesses. However, sometimes excessive data is injurious. Especially during times of crisis. And this effect is amplified when the decision makers enter a state of denial. In such a state, people tend to look at data that conforms with their plan of action, no matter how wrong that action is.

If it sounds good, then it must be true. If the data presented to them justifies their ill-planned actions, then the data must be true. If the data does not agree with their plan of action, then it must be false. Alas! Denial is an easy state to slip into. It makes us see things the way we want to see them and not for what they really are.

Antidote:

Do not put the cart before the horse. Do not plan actions before analyzing data, both subjective and objective. Pre-conceived ideas and actions corrupt our analytical appreciation and interpretation of reality.

As always, comments welcomed.

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7 Responses to “If it sounds good, then it must be true – A Symptom of Denial”

  1. Raunak, the way you have presented denial as a dangerous state of mind is really good.I found it really as an eyeopener…Thanks….

  2. In terms of a coping mechanism, denial is considered very primitive. Children often use denial when they want things to go their way. 🙂

  3. Ah, denial! Great post! It’s interesting how we can fall so deeply into it without even realizing where we’re headed!! I suppose maybe there is a way to monitor ourselves once we reach some sort of state of enlightenment in the matter as to the denial so we can prevent ourselves from going too far even if we initially see signs of it happening. Is that possible though?

  4. Same is true not only in business but personal relationships as well. Blinders used on a horse during a race can be good, but at some point they have to come off. I guess it boils down to what it is we’re willing to accept and if denial is part of it, then so be it. Sad but true…

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