Conflation is the mingling or merging of two or more different concepts to come up with another idea altogether.
When you combine two ideas to come up with something that improves understanding, conflation is benign.
When used in the context of advocacy, however, conflation can be malignant because the intention is to sow confusion, discredit an individual or perpetrate a conspiracy.
We believe what we want to believe; what we are conditioned to believe. The words of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan — “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts” — ring hollow today.
The challenge for anyone in leadership today is to challenge the veracity of what they hear by immersing themselves in a diversity of thought so they come to hear ideas other than their own.
In turn, they may come to conclusions that are based upon solid reasoning drawn from proven sources of information.
Big order, yes, but a challenge every leader can embrace. Our times demand it.
John Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2018, Trust Across America honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Trust. Also in 2018, Inc.com named Baldoni a Top 100 Leadership Speaker. Global Gurus ranked him No. 22 on its list of top 30 global experts, a list he has been on since 2007. In 2014, Inc.com named Baldoni to its list of top 50 leadership experts. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including his newest, “MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.”