Monday, July 23, 2007

Recognizing A Culture Of Denial

And It's Not A River In Egypt! It's A Problem.

By David Miranda

Denial is a major impediment to positive outcomes.

It is usually accompanied by its siblings, arrogance and ignorance. It is exascerbated by power and time, i.e. the more powerful the position, the longer the denial, the greater the consequences.

A ship's captain who is in denial that he is off course, despite evidence and advice to the contrary, will get further off course over time unless making necessary course corrections.

Denial has had and continues to have its impact in a number of areas:

  • War in Iraq

  • Performance-enhancing drugs in sports

  • U.S. automobile industry

  • Immigration reform

  • Health care reform

  • Reliance of fossil fuels

  • Global warming

  • Obesity

  • Katrina victims

  • Darfur genocide

From business and government leaders, to professional athletes, to celebrities, we see and hear a constant chorus of denial. Few admit they were wrong until either the evidence is overwhelming, the consequences are dire, they are exposed on YouTube, are fired, indicted, or convicted. By then, the damage has been done.

If you are in a position of authority, recognize this. There is nothing wrong admitting that you're wrong. It is a positive, not a negative trait. A sign of strength, not weakness.

If you are wrong, admit it quickly and honestly. It's the right thing to do.

There is no denying it.