How Denial is Eroding American Business Strength


“Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it.” 
― Voltaire

Beware of Fog

Culture makes a big difference in business effectiveness. We all know that. We all have lived with the positives and negatives of business culture. Little effort is really put into planning it; most cultures organically develop or mirror the values and personalities of the company leaders. We are seeing this changing…and not in a good way.

A business culture that facilitates the normality of denial is creeping into many of the businesses we interact with. Webster Dictionary defines denial as:

Definition of denial

1 : refusal to satisfy a request or desire the denial of privileges

2a(1) : refusal to admit the truth or reality of something (such as a statement or charge) their denial of the divine right of kings

(2) : assertion that an allegation is false her denial that she was involved

b : refusal to acknowledge a person or a thing : disavowal his denial of his youngest son

3 law : the opposing by the defendant of an allegation (see allegation sense 2) of the opposite party in a lawsuit their denial of the plaintiff’s allegations

4 : self-denial … a man in denial about his receding hairline. — Playboy

5 logic : negation sense 1b

6 psychology : a defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality in denial; refusing to admit the truth or reality of something unpleasant a patient in denial about his health problems

Source: Meriam-Webster

Each one of these definitions are employed as the new normal for American Business.  Internet companies increasingly refuse to acknowledge customers right to fair treatment (or even a personal contact). When employees watch their leaders sit in front of congress and deny what they know to be true, this eventually infects internal communications between employees. Denial becomes the response to the truth. This goes even to denial of persons; “Ghosting” is a millennial favorite (although skillfully deployed by others) and increasingly practiced in business.  But alas, the psychological manifestation is the most pressing.

Today’s employees are expected to be absorbed by their company’s culture. You become “an IBMer” or a “Red Hatter” or currently “a Pendozer”. This solidifies a personal view united with a company’s culture. The two become inseparable. So, if anything is going wrong with the company then that becomes a personal affront to be denied. We see it happening all the time and with increasing frequency. Our current favorite is “We are doing great! We do not need to change anything. The future growth prospects are excellent.”

What we see? Clouds forming. Technological innovation accelerating. Disruption around the corner. Change is required on a constant basis. Keep a worldwide focus on what is DIRECTLY challenging your business. During the best of times is the time to plan change. Waiting until the stuff hits the fan is a poor environment to begin changing your culture and your business plans. Take a good hard look at your business and seek that which could be done better and differently in the future. Challenge the deniers. Challenge the naysayers. Improve your company culture as you have improved yourself

More to explore