There are a couple of basic things we know about “Birthers”–those folks that believe Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States and therefore should not be President.
First, they are so invested in what they wish to be true, that they don’t listen to anything that doesn’t conform to their views.
Second, when presented with clear facts and compelling logic, their only defense is to claim that there must be some sort of conspiracy.
Today the President released definitive proof that he is an American citizen. My guess is that this will finally shut up a fair number of dissenters. But the true Birthers–the die-hard trolls–will continue to push some sort of alternative reality.
Of course we often see this kind of behavior in business. The defenders of the status quo will go on and on about how some new competitor, disruptive technology or product innovation is not worth worrying about. Those that are too afraid to change will deny, and then deny some more. When trapped in the corner, surrounded by mounds of irrefutable evidence, they will either become victims or take a holier than thou position.
If you are anything like me, you may find yourself sucked into the vortex of this crazy thinking and feel the desire to make things right. Truth, justice and the American way, and all that self-righteous stuff.
But becoming too vested in changing the minds of people who are wired to stay stuck in the past, or who cling to a notion that defies logic, is swimming in dangerous waters. Arguing with a fool proves there are two.
If your boss (or whole company) displays Birther-thinking, it’s probably not time to double down on getting your argument more robust. It’s probably time to move on. There’s better, more substantive, work to be done.