Denial Can Destroy Your Business

Denial is much more than a river in Africa or proclaiming, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman!”

Typically, denial comes in two forms: one in which something desirable is withheld so a higher end result may be achieved, the other where something undesirable is avoided so blissful ignorance may rule. The latter is extremely destructive to personal and business growth, and is all too common among some alarm dealers.

Face it, most of us engage in this sort of denial at one time or another. It often partners up with its insidious buddies — ego and rationalization. For individuals, this denial often involves vices such as drinking, drug abuse, overeating and smoking; vanities like age, hair loss and beauty; or qualities such as intelligence, strength and honesty. These breaks with reality allow us to remain complacently enmeshed in our comfort zones. Statements such as, “I can stop smoking any time I want,” or behavior like dodging mirrors and cameras characterizes denial in these areas.

For businesses, denial can involve personnel errors like poor recruiting, undeserved promotions and retention of under-performers; ill-conceived strategies such as expending too much or too little energy on a particular market, overextending financially and underestimating competitors; or customer service shortcomings like insufficient return and warranty policies, unresponsiveness and unreasonable pricing schemes.

Denial is frequently at the root of business failure. For example, admitting a mistake and accepting responsibility is crucial if improvement is to occur. Obviously, that cannot happen if management denies anything might be askew. By the same token, identifying potential threats is imperative to ensuring long-term success. However, that process is obliterated if decision-makers deny the existence of such threats despite irrefutable evidence.

I have seen it time and time again, where security providers either fail to reach their potential or totally unravel because they ignore the writing on the wall. Whether it’s refusing to recognize incompetence within their ranks, false belief in their own infallibility and invincibility, forgetting the customer comes first, or casting off changing marketplaces as “fads,” some companies allow denial to be the catalyst of their demise. For security businesses, there is yet another profound aspect of denial. Regardless of the degree it exists within a given security dealer’s or systems integrator’s company, it comes with the territory that denial is rampant among their potential customers. Most people would rather not dwell on their vulnerability, which is why they typically wait until after a crime has directly affected their lives to spend money on a security system.

So, for security professionals, overcoming denial necessitates approaching it from personal, business and customer perspectives. There is no question that denying denial can be extremely difficult. You must battle the temptation of sliding into it and continuously perform reality checks to make certain you remain steadfastly on the right path. Never believe you know all there is to know about anything, and be the first to admit it when you are wrong. Believe me, you will come out ahead in the long run. Often, when denial of overindulgent tendencies undermines the functioning of someone, friends and family stage what is known as an intervention. This process helps penetrate the subject’s wall of denial in such a way that he or she is forced to face the facts and deal with them. Hopefully, this action sets the person on the road to recovery and a better, richer life.

For those security companies in denial … let this be your intervention!


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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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