Groupthink is a common psychological phenomenon that often results in dysfunctional decision-making. And groupthink is probably present most of the time. Yet the best leaders can stimulate dissent and debate within their organization, and also keep such interaction constructive.
Groupthink or 'going along with the crowd' is the human phenomenon when a group of people tend to align and coalesce their thinking around the same outlook. It's important, of course, for people to get along but groupthink or 'not wanting to rock the boat' very often results in not fully informed decision making... and that's putting it politely.
Groupthink often results in oversights and poor results. It's no surprise that diversity is good for society, well it's also good for decision-making. It's important to have diverse ideas and opinions expressed when considering product development efforts. In fact it's the only way we can ensure a thoughtful and critical evaluation.
The problem with groupthink is that unconsciously or not, people tend to avoid expressing controversial or divergent ideas because they don't want the discomfort of being a contrarian or introducing friction into the group. Psychologists and sociologists talk about groupthink creating an illusion of invulnerability which is an inflated certainty that their thinking is correct. This results in a group overestimating their decision-making capabilities and under estimating those of their competitors.
So how do you avoid groupthink?
- Select a diverse group of people from diverse backgrounds
- Encourage people to speak up
- Learn to be comfortable with discomfort (it'll save you much more discomfort down the road)
Stay tuned for more "Field Notes" with me, Tom Triumph in the coming weeks. If you have questions or comments feel free to leave them below! Thanks for joining me on IT Pack!