Cognitive dissonance occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. People address that tension with one of several defensive maneuvers: Often, they reject or avoid the new information, or they resort to other defensive means of preserving order in their conceptions of reality.

What does this have to do with cloud computing? A lot, these days.

For many IT professionals a decade ago, cloud computing was not secure, overpriced, unreliable, and other otherwise evil. In the early days, they loudly agitated against the cloud notion. Today, those people largely keep their opinions to themselves, but more of them are out there than you know.

Many enterprises are today highly successful with cloud computing, and the evidence clearly shows that the cloud is more secure than on-premises systems, costs less to operate, and provides key strategic capabilities such as agility and reduced time to market.

But there are still those people who have kept cloud computing out of their companies for the last decade, at first through active resistance and dismissal, now by being quietly passive-aggressive. Today, they are faced with a boss, board of directors, and staffers who are all looking at new information, and perhaps facing competition that is faster and more agile with cloud computing. These cloud resisters are in a full-blown state of cognitive dissonance.

This cognitive dissonance is bad for both them and their companies.

Many of these people are seen as blockers, and so they lose their jobs; CIOs top the list. What a waste of talent!

Worse, they also end up wasting their companies’ time and money trying to prove to everyone that they were indeed right about something they are not right about. Some pretend (consciously or not) to try the cloud in dumb ways that are sure to fail—and then blame the failures on the cloud.

In my experience, very few of the cloud blockers are bad or stupid people. They just can’t get past their world view, even when it is no longer valid. People who have a such a mental block do needs to be eliminated one way or another. Maybe some sort of counseling can help them move foward. But those who don’t change need to go.