Denying Reality

A scant two hours after the report of Ken Lay's death hit the wires, I received a press release offering me the chance to talk to the head of a management consulting firm who could lend his insight about how CEOs get fired because they can't face reality. In the words of the press release, "Lay's death may be the equivalent of a child sticking their fingers in their ears to avoid hearing something bad. But a lot more final."
Putting aside what seems to be a crass attempt at humor, this consultant-cum-pop-psychologist then attributes Lay's death as an extreme example of a CEO "Denying Reality." Fortunately, said consultant has "some interesting thoughts on the demise of Ken Lay and how others can avoid his fate."
Now, while Lay's actions with regard to Enron are completely indefensible, I find it utterly tasteless to use someone's death as a jumping off point to tout your client's expertise in management consulting. It's one thing to use timely news events to your advantage—indeed, it shows there's a brain behind those email blasts—but there is a line. Where have you seen that line get crossed? Do you think this is one of those cases?

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