THE JOURNEY YO REMARKABLE RETAIL
Steve helps organizations understand and respond to retail disruption by creating customer-centric, memorable and profitable growth strategies.
The Upside Of Denial
Is there any?
If your experience is anything like mine, you know how seductive denial can be. Denial is the temptress that helps us avoid pain. Denial keeps us in our comfort zone like a warm bath at the end of a long day. Denial creates the sense that defending the status quo is working or that we can go around our problems rather than through them. Denial is a fantasy–and not the fun kind.
But mostly denial creates an illusion of safety when the reality is anything but. It works incredibly well–until it doesn’t.
Denial is cunning and baffling. It’s the monster lurking beneath the surface, hiding in the closet and buried in the chatter of our monkey mind.
In a business setting, denial allows us to trumpet our booming customer acquisition statistics, while ignoring the other engagement metrics that are falling apart. It causes us to crow about our rapidly growing e-commerce business, when the reality is that it’s entirely channel shift. It’s sometimes found in the happy talk press conference, the clever Powerpoint, the rah-rah company-wide meeting or the slick investor presentation that contains all the right buzz-words, when everyone else knows it’s the proverbial lipstick on the pig.
Denial kept Sears from ever really dealing with Home Depot, Lowe’s and Kohl’s. It kept Blockbuster and Borders from confronting digital. Right now it keeps many investors engaged with a “sell it at a loss but make it up on volume” trade.
More substantively, urgently, and rather tragically, denial of science contributes to a growing, epic global health crisis. Denial of systemic racism–and many other societal issues–foments division and hinders necessary progress.
Too often denial feels like our friend, when in fact it is every inch our enemy. Eventually the truth comes out. Gravity always wins.
As David Pell reminds us: “Among the dinosaurs, there were many asteroid deniers.”
This post is re-purposed and expanded upon from a 2015 article that appeared on my original blog.
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