How Do You Cope With ‘Corporate Denial’?

Denial’ is a commonly used defense mechanism that we often recognize in others before acknowledging we are doing the same thing. Are you able to recognize the signs of ‘corporate denial’? Here is an example from the article, The Dangers of Denial.

“A large natural resources company acquired a smaller competitor and announced that it would be closing a number of low-producing mines within a year. Six months later the corporate HR manager visited these mines to help with the transition and was surprised to learn that the planning hadn’t even begun. When he questioned the mine leadership team he was told, ‘We’ve heard this story before but we produce too much ore for the company to really shut us down.'”

How do you cope with it?

Find ways to facilitate and encourage dialogue, particularly when complex issues are on the table. While denial can still occur, it is less likely when teams are able to look at the situation from multiple angles, challenge underlying assumptions, and eventually get a better picture of what’s really going on. So while it’s true that great leaders usually don’t get trapped in the denial of hard realities, it’s often because they get a lot of help from their teams.The Dangers of Denial, by Ron Ashkenas, Harvard Business Review.

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