Saturday, July 11, 2009

Logically illogical

The logic behind defensiveness doesn’t stack up.

If we’re wrong, do we really want to defend a bad idea or position? If we’re right, will being defensive increase or decrease the strength of our position? Will it hurt or help the odds that others will give up their position in favor of a better way? Will defensiveness foster better listening, on either side? Will our defense or denial of our weaknesses make us stronger.

While there’s no rationale behind the tactic of being defensive, there’s plenty of emotion. Fear is the mortar that holds together the wall of defensiveness. We fear that

  • We weren’t smart enough to see it first.
  • We risk losing what we have or who we are if we change.
  • If we admit we’re wrong, we’ll lose face.
  • The world is changing and we don’t want it to – so we defend the “old world”, under the illusion that if we hold to our position long enough, the world will adjust to us.
  • The past has been different from what we thought it was, and the future might be different from what we want it to be.
  • We are the feedback we’re getting.

Excerpt from "Egonomics" by David Marcum and Steven Smith