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How Deceptive Messages Derail Strategy

How Deceptive Messages Derail Strategy

Our company can withstand any competitors.

Customers love our products just the way they are.

The rules don’t apply to us.

Organizations that are prone to these kinds of deceptive messages are more likely to be bitten by them. As market conditions, consumer preferences, and competitors change, so too must companies. But those that rely on deceptive internal messages often are blind to these changes until it’s too late.

Here’s a look at how deceptive messages derail strategy.

Deceptive messages can paint either a too-rosy or too-bleak outlook. The challenge is that these messages can be so powerful and persuasive that they help send the enterprise down a deceptive path. These cognitive distortions can greatly alter how companies approach strategy and tactics.

A recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers article details four of the most common types of messages that organizations can misrepresent.

1. Risk Perceptions

PWC describes this phenomenon as “overconfident exceptionalism,” using it to misrepresent the reality of risks, whether in investments, strategic planning, and/or responses to market changes.

It manifests itself in overconfidence in a leader who has made some bold moves in the past that have paid off. It can permeate management, ennobling managers and leaders to cut corners, ignore protocols or regulations, and play loose with numbers.

Conversely, risk misperception can result in aversion to making decisions or taking steps that would benefit the company and each reaction can be well supported by data on projections and performance. The two types can also coexist.

2. Value Distortions

Again there are two scenarios at play when values are distorted. The relative worth of tasks, projects or initiatives can be mired down by perfectionist thinking (It has to be perfect) that delays the release of a product or causes teams to hesitate in pitching new concepts. The opposite, referred to as “ticking the box,” accepts less-than-ideal work as long as it meets minimum standards for performance.

3. Proficiency Discrepancy

Organizations with deep-rooted collective insecurity are likely to produce self-defeating teams that internalize the notion that the company is ineffective and not likely to succeed. Positive attributes are devalued and a defeatist attitude prevails. Conversely, some companies are convinced that others believe in their products or services at an unrealistic level. They dismiss criticism or insights from customers and consumers, and instead, push what the organization believes it should be offering, not what the market is saying.

4. Validity Bias

Just because you feel that something is true does not validate the belief. A strongly held collective notion that something is going to work … or not work … can derail strategy and planning, and create problems when that strategy is executed. With validity bias comes the risk of over-rationalizing something, too. Just because there is broad consensus on the logic behind a decision does not mean it is the right course of action.

At Center for Victory, we help companies develop people that have the right leadership development skills to think rationally and strategically. Our assessment tools help companies develop stronger leaders and teams. Contact us to see how Center for Victory can help your employees identify and reassess deceptive thinking.

From January 15, 2019

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