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Denial: Why Business Leaders Fail to Look Facts in the Face---and What to Do About It Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 4, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
“This lucid and scary history of our proclivity to deny uncomfortable truth is Richard Tedlow at his analytical best. But plan ahead before you pick it up. It is very hard to put down.”—Clayton M. Christensen, Author of The Innovator’s Dilemma
“In this absorbing study, Tedlow makes the case that the willingness to face harsh facts is what distinguishes great leaders from merely adequate ones. A must-read.”—Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
“Tedlow’s book forces the business executive to ask: ‘Is this about me?’ If the answer is yes, you’ve got a problem. The stories presented here can help you work your way out of it.”—Suzy Welch, author of 10-10-10
“Tedlow’s book is a fascinating look at the phenomenon of denial. It’s a great explanation of why smart leaders act dumb, and what you can do about it."—Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert
Top Customer Reviews
In the first part of his book, Mr. Tedlow convincingly demonstrates that companies that were once (very) successful can fall prey to denial, sometimes resulting in their loss of market supremacy. Think for example about the substitution of General Motors to Ford Motor Company in pole position in the 1920s, or the disastrous formula change of "Classic" Coke to better deal with the Pepsi Challenge in the 1980s. In the second part of his study of denial, Mr. Tedlow shows that after first agonizing over the necessity to change their modus operandi and/or business model, some companies such as DuPont and Intel made the necessary decisions to overcome a major crisis, at what Intel CEO Andy Grove calls a strategic inflection point in their existence (p. 58).
To avoid the fate of those who succumb to denial in the business world, Mr. Tedlow concludes his examination of denial with the following action plan:
1. There is no time to waste in dealing with denial. Tackling denial at a time of a crisis will often be too late.
2.Read more ›
Denial is simultaneously the safe and the wrong way to handle a problem. He says denial is a process over which we sometimes can exercise some measure of control. When we're not in control, it is denial. Episodes in this book are quite familiar to business person. However, replacing our position to their's, we have not an inch of confidence in solving these problems. Our sense of urgency might be easily blunted by the business upturn. We might miss the strategic inflection point by denying the needs from the market. Tedlow assures us we can arm ourselves against denial through self-knowledge, openness to criticism, receptivity to facts and perspectives that challenge our own.
Eight lessons in this book to avoid denial shows the true nature of the problem. With our own efforts, we can improve our ability to perceive the danger of denying. There are no mature markets, only tired marketers. Let's start life-work battle denial right now!
Taking a bit of a different approach, in his book, "Denial," Harvard Business School professor, Richard S. Tedlow, tackles how some of businesses most influential leaders put themselves in a state of denial as their minute challenges quickly escalate into nationwide crises.
Using a biographical-style narrative, Tedlow explores tribulations major organizations like Ford, Coca-Cola, Intel and Johnson & Johnson faced in order to determine how denying business trends and new competition threaten a company's livelihood, while others tackle those realities directly and launch the company into further success.
As always, a few of my favorite passages:
"In business, pretending that things are better than they are virtually ensures failure."
"Denial does not change reality. It simply makes reality tougher to deal with."
"Your view does not change the world -- the realities of which you will inevitably have to face sooner or later."
"Wood preached that a company had to grow. It was 'like an animal or a plant -- when it ceases to grow, it begins to decay.'"
"There appears to be a persistent belief in once-great organizations that have lost their way that if you simply avoid speaking the blunt truth, all the problems will just go away."
"Denial is not a matter of academic intelligence... it is a matter of attitude."
"Looking facts in the face is essential to avoiding denial, and before you can do so, you must ascertain what the 'facts' are.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Turns out to be the exact information I needed to help a businessman friend. It might not save the business, but it is sure helping the person understand what has happened.Published 14 months ago by EForrie
Loved this book. The author was a genius in how he wove the stories together to really drive the points he was trying to me. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Rae Niles
Really nice reading about a subject that not everyone can recognize. Well written, and very informative. Read morePublished on October 7, 2013 by André da Costa Ramos
I know this is petty, but when I see a glaring editorial error in a book, I can't continue to read it. Read morePublished on February 14, 2011 by DS in SFO
Interesting read shares stories of business leaders and the context within which they made errors in behavior leading to less than stellar results.Published on December 29, 2010 by CSM-LA
The issue of denial is a common feature of our times. It's them and not us. This book reviews and summarizes the history of this behavior. Read morePublished on November 13, 2010 by J. Bossart