Denial can cost you a fortune at the auto shop if you postpone that oil change too long. Denial can choke the life out of a marriage when one partner refuses to make small adjustments to accommodate the other. Denial can kill airplane passengers when pilots ignore the warning signals of their navigation systems.

Denial does damage in organizations, too.

When marginal performance is only marginally differentiated (if at all) from excellence. When people invest energy in assigning blame rather than in solving problems. When rank weighs more than a good idea. When assumptions go unchallenged. When opinions go untested. When feedback goes unheeded.

Denial causes smart people to do dumb things because they prefer not to see, or simply can’t see, a warning signal. It’s sometimes described as selective amnesia or blinders. In most cases it’s not a character flaw. It’s simply a part of being human. Then results hoped for are replaced by excuses and blame. It can render even the best business strategy totally impotent.

Worried about symptoms? Get real. Rush to the root causes. Create results, not excuses.

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