Denying reality has a limited shelf-life

The most interesting project manager I interacted with in the UK was a guy with a team of around 8 people at Xerox Corporation.
He had a plaque prominently displayed on his desk bearing the inscription

If you don’t get the facts, the facts will get you

He had a love-hate relationship with his team. They loved his ability to speak truth to power and back them up all the way. They HATED his tendency to quiz the entire team and seemingly play Devil’s Advocate in meetings as he argued with team consensus.
I talked to him about that process. His comment to me was if you are going to tell your leadership the things that they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear, you had better be right, otherwise you will not be taken seriously once you are found out to be wrong once. In order to be right, you have to have the facts on your side. So his “Devils Advocate” style of interaction was deliberate, a tactic to ensure that his team was not simply making decisions based on expediency and groupthink. Confirmation bias can be very distorting in members of a team.
This article in Forbes explains very compellingly why the GOP, since they took total control of the Legislative and Executive branches, has been unable to make much progress on most of their legislative agenda. Quite simply, many of their legislative ideas conflict with reality and facts. That means that sooner or later the painful reality check appears on the scene. The mess over the ACA is but one example of this.

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