Why do so many business leaders get it so very wrong, so very often?
For four reasons, says Dartmouth professor Sydney Finklestein:
- Experience (when the experience doesn't matched the situation)
- Self-interest (often unconscious)
- Pre-judgments (hasty decisions that stick)
- Attachments (undue influences)
Among my clients, I witness operator-induced train wrecks all the time.
The five red flags are:
- Obsession with sacred-cow marketing tactics
- Fixation on "bright and shiny objects"
- Readiness to heed the advice of charismatic nincompoops
- Hyper-focus on waste, instead of growth
- Bias for copying competitors and using low-price as strategy
It's easy for an outsider (like me) to spot when experience, self-interest, pre-judgements or attachments are driving decisions; far less so less for an insider.
As people in recovery like to say, "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."
Denial enables business decisions to feel right, even when they're wrong.
That's because, as Professor Finklestein says, "Decision making is not a rational, step-by-step process. It’s much more emotionally driven."
HAT TIP to Steve Dennis for inspiring this post.