3 Management Myths That We Desperately Need To Unlearn

Greg Satell
6 min readJan 15, 2022
Image Pixabay

Mark Twain is reported to have said, “It’s not what you don’t know that kills you, it’s what you know for sure that ain’t true.” Ignorance of facts is easily remedied. We can read books, watch documentaries or simply do a quick Google search. Yet our misapprehensions and biases endure, even in the face of contradicting facts.

The truth is that much of what we believe has less to do with how we weigh evidence than how we see ourselves. In fact, fMRI studies have suggested that evidence which contradicts our firmly held beliefs violates our sense of identity. Instead of adapting our views, we double down and lash out at those who criticize them.

This can be problematic in our personal lives, but in business it can be fatal. There is a reason that even prominent CEOs can pursue failed strategies and sophisticated investors will back hucksters to the hilt. Yet as Adam Grant points out in Think Again, we can make the effort to reexamine and alter our beliefs. Here are three myths that we need to watch out for.

Myth #1: The “Global Village” Will Be A Nice Place

Marshal McLuhan, in Understanding Media, one of the most influential books of the 20th century, described media as “extensions of man” and predicted that electronic media would eventually lead to a global village. Communities would no longer be tied to a single, isolated physical space but connect and interact with others on a world stage.

To many, the rise of the Internet confirmed McLuhan’s prophecy and, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, digital entrepreneurs saw their work elevated to a sacred mission. In Facebook’s IPO filing, Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.

Yet, importantly, McLuhan did not see the global village as a peaceful place. In fact, he predicted it would lead to a new form of tribalism and result in a “release of human power and aggressive violence” greater than ever in human history, as long separated — and emotionally charged — cultural norms would now constantly intermingle, clash and explode.

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Greg Satell

Co-Founder: ChangeOS | Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, Wharton Lecturer, HBR Contributor, - Learn more at www.GregSatell.com