At a time of a major crisis in the historic child abuse being uncovered in football’s youth teams and the woeful current handling of the issue by various clubs board members, I found this week a business book on the issue of denial with a refreshingly honest approach. The extract below is an excellent summary.
Denial is a book by Richard S. Tedlow in 2010 that confronts why we sometimes choose to ignore or deny something we know.
Choosing not to know is a human trait and it helps us in the short term, for example in times of grief. But long term it is a problem.
The book is in two parts: firms that failed in a crisis; and firms that successfully tackled a major crisis and survived.
A good case study is Johnson & Johnson which faced customer deaths in the USA from medicine tampering in the 1980s and here the company board responded in a model manner with excellent ethics and leadership.
How best to deal with corporate denial:
- Don’t wait for the crisis to peak
- Acknowledge and confront the facts
- Encourage team straight talking and comms
- Lead from the top
- Think long-term
- Don’t trash talk the issue or the opposition
- Tell the truth
- Be unconventionally right.
“Denial: Why Business Leaders Fail to Look Facts in the Face — and What to Do About It.” Richard S. Tedlow, 2010.