Overcoming Denial In The Cloud

Overcoming Denial In The Cloud

One of the most critical aspects of doing business in the cloud is clarity. When mistakes are made it’s often due to mistaken judgments based on information processed in the brain incorrectly. Marketers must read their audience and a company like Cisco must not over pay in their $1.2 billion bid for Meraki. Misreading your audience or overpaying for an acquisition is far too common. How do we make sure technology decisions today will have a positive impact on our tomorrow? By painting a crystal clear picture about the situation we are facing.

Understanding Denial

Denial is our internal enemy, a way to trick ourselves into thinking we understand what is going on so we can avoid anxious feelings of insecurity. This isn’t done knowingly or intentionally, it’s just a way for us to avoid the anxiety we can experience when making critical assessments of our marketing or spending $1.2 billion on an acquisition.

The executives at Cisco won’t know for sure if their $1.2 billion investment panned out for at least a year after the deal closes. The marketer doesn’t know how the campaign will go until the results are tallied. The difference between success and failure will be in the information they attended to while making their decision. Therefore, the goal is to avoid making decisions based on wishful thinking.

Dealing with Denial

Attention is the critical component when the goal is to make an objective decision. Most of us have a tendency to attend to the aspects of a situation that make us feel less anxious. For example if Cisco’s overarching goal in acquiring Meraki is to be the largest cloud provider, executives will naturally attend to the positives of what closing this deal does to meet this need, sometimes at the expense of the more obvious issues of creating cash flow and turning a profit. When an element of fear is involved the situation is even more likely to result in a blunder.

Let’s say the marketer in our example fears failure. He has hit a rough patch and needs a big win to make up for big losses. His manager has advised him to switch copywriters as the long time standby’s quality has been slipping over the last year. However, the current copywriter is his investor’s son. If denial is in play the marketer isn’t thinking, “I better not fire the copywriter or I will upset the investor.” Instead the marketer is avoiding the issue of the relationship between the investor and the copywriter because he does not want to confront the investor. So he finds another reason, “I better not fire the copywriter because he is so loyal, I’m sure things will turn around.

The key to overcoming denial in the psychological sense is to:

  • 1st – Understand what you fear or typically avoid
  • 2nd – Have your partner or advisor talk you through those issues

By embracing and wrestling with that which we would rather avoid, we can make better decisions in the cloud today.

By Don Cleveland


Although relatively new to technology writing Don Cleveland has been writing and working in the fields of business and psychology over the last 25 years. After earning his B.A. in psychology at the University of South Florida he has returned to finish an M.A. in counseling. His passions are shining psychology’s empirical light on the world of computing and work through research and writing.

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