23 February 2017

Daniel Shapiro on how taboos impair decision-making

In the business realm [taboos] are a huge problem. CEOs, leaders of organisations, need to be aware of the taboos that are affecting you in your business. And one huge taboo is “Don’t criticise the boss.” Well guess what, bosses out there, if that taboo is in place in your organisation, you’re losing information and your decisions are not as good as they could be.

Daniel Shapiro, founder and director of the Harvard International Negotiation Programme, on Monocle 24: The Entrepreneurs, Episode 236, at 17:11 in.

As ever, business culture permeates from the top down.

But as with CEOs, so with authors. Sometimes on an editing gig it soon becomes clear that the author doesn’t want anyone to touch their text. At most they’re only expecting to be proofread, not copyedited, such that challenging anything they’ve written is a personal affront.

To misquote Daniel Shapiro, then, if it’s taboo to criticise the author, the book won’t be as good as it could be.