Are You a Management Ostrich?

The Impact of Avoidance on a Company.

Denial.  And no, I’m not talking about the river in Egypt.

The word denial tends to bring to mind personal issues.  Yet, denial is alive and well in the workplace.  Chances are denial brought its good friend avoidance and they could be camping out in offices and cubicles in your company. Do you know what they cost your company?

The global economic crisis took its toll on companies and their work forces.  Higher costs and smaller margins caused companies to downsize and put pressure on their staff “to do more with less.”

These high pressure environments can create cultural undercurrents in organizations.  In times of stress, fear tends to take hold leading to protectionist behaviors.  Denial and avoidance become common place as people just don’t have the bandwidth for conflict or they simply don’t know what to do.  Bad projects, questionable decisions, poor processes and unscrupulous staff behaviors are often ignored and the “Ostrich Approach to Management” becomes commonplace.

If left unchecked, avoidance and denial create a snowball effect.  More problems and greater complications emerge.  Avoiding the issues erodes the intent and morale of the organization – taking productivity and profitability along with them.


How do you know when Denial and Avoidance are in residence in your company?  You’ll see the varied degrees of the following:

  • Confusion around the company’s direction – Company is viewed as rudderless and the leadership’s competency is questioned
  • Low morale  – Employees are disengaged and productivity falls
  • Bad apple effect – Unchecked bad behavior is seen as acceptable and replicated by other staff
  • Staff turnover – Best employees become frustrated and leave

If untreated, these cultural undercurrents become a riptide as the economy recovers and can pull your company away from desired growth into loss.

What To Do

There is a simple and surefire way to evict these two unwanted culprits from your company.

Deal. With. Problems. NOW.

Not tomorrow.  Not next week when you have more time.  Not when profits improve.  Not someday, one day, when.  NOW.

The faster you deal with problems, the faster you can shift the negative currents in your company.

Be proactive.  Be courageous.  Be decisive.

Your staff will notice.  The good ones will appreciate it and reinforce the behavior.  The less than stellar performers will attempt to undermine you, because they can hide in chaos.  When that happens, it’s a surefire sign that you’re on the right path.


How do you tackle avoidance in your business?

3 thoughts on “Are You a Management Ostrich?

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