The smartest guy in the room—that’s you, right? It’s easy to get tunnel vision and forget that there might be opinions other than yours or, more important, facts that don’t support your plans. And if you’re like most powerful people, you don’t exactly encourage those around you to debunk your projections and theories. So when that threatening trend appears on the horizon, or that report warns of impending disaster, it’s all too likely that you’ll dismiss it. In short, you’re in denial, which business historian Richard Tedlow defines as “the unwillingness to see or admit a truth that ought to be apparent and is in fact apparent to many others.” Denial is the reason why CEOs refuse to acknowledge key data points and counterarguments and miss major societal and consumer shifts; it’s why they insist that the direction in which the company is heading is the way it should be heading. The result? You guessed it.
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