“It didn’t make any sense to me, but I just went along with it.” A team member explained it was easier for her to go along with the group decision than to challenge it.
The experience was a classic case of a psychological phenomenon called groupthink.
Groupthink occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.
It’s a huge impediment for companies trying to create breakthrough ideas and increase innovation.
In this case, the team met on their own to talk about how to improve their meetings. They wanted to work together better as a team, but their solution was to have MORE MEETINGS!
Why didn’t someone say, “Maybe there are better ideas we should consider.”
“What are we really trying to accomplish here?”
Studies show we’re wired to try to fit in with our environment and the people in it.
While groupthink was clearly a problem in this example, the bigger problem was that the CEO was unaware of the issue.
He felt the effects because he was too involved in matters that the team should have handled. But they were too busy meeting.
CEOs don’t need to be involved at all levels of the organization, but they do need to be aware of the culture being created that fosters ineffective decision-making.
Prevent groupthink by bringing more diverse perspectives into the decision-making process. Create an environment in which team members feel like their voices can be heard.
Don’t let your team become too insular. Connect them with other people outside the team who can share fresh ideas as needed.
Reward the crazy ideas. People hold back when they fear judgment.
Take pressure off of team members to make quick decisions where possible. When people are stressed, they don’t think clearly.
Check the areas in your business where you are not seeing the results you want.
It’s likely there are some dysfunctional decision-making processes behind the scenes.
Do less group thinking and more smart thinking.
Decide to assess your decision-making processes to achieve better results.
PS: We’ve been working on some exciting projects to help executives who are transforming their organizations. Let us know if we can be of help to you.
If we have not met, I’d be happy to introduce you to WorkMatters services.
Please contact me.
Gayle Lantz is a leadership consultant, speaker, author and founder of WorkMatters, Inc. She works with organizations, executives and top performers who are serious about growing their business and themselves..