Steering Clear of Groupthink in Business
Businesses tend to create groups and panels to help them solve a problem or make a decision on something. Despite the virtue of bringing ideas together, these groups tend to kill creativity and innovation. Group members make quick decisions, especially when the most influential group members come up with an idea. Here are ways businesses can avoid the consequences that result from group think.
• Leaders Should First Keep Their Ideas To Themselves
Leaders or people with higher positions tend to influence the decisions made in a group. In most cases, group members will go with the group’s ideas made by influential people. According to pain management specialist Jordan Sudberg, employees might feel intimidated to share ideas contrasting with their leaders for fear of falling out of favor. Leaders should, therefore, first keep their opinions to themselves and encourage others to brainstorm and come up with their ideas.
Businesses can use diversity and inclusivity to eliminate group thinking. Inclusivity in a group means allowing every member to share their ideas and positively criticize other ideas where necessary. Blending this inclusivity with diversity is a desirable trait in business. Every department should have a representative, and other employees should be asked their opinion on the matter. Engaging outsiders can also be a great way of practicing inclusivity. Outsiders can bring a new perspective to the issue and also offer their technical knowledge on some topics that are not clear.
• Critical Evaluation of Ideas
Ideas in a group should not be agreed upon just because the majority of the members seem content. In addition, groups should not make conclusions because of the owner’s status. Members should critically evaluate ideas based on merit. An idea’s pros and cons should be considered and assessed before concluding. Members should also consider suitable improvements to the ideas to eliminate the problems resulting from their implementation. It gives room for well-thought-out and conclusive solutions to the issue at hand. Jordan Sudberg comments that this evaluation helps prevent the group from ignoring important information and blame games that rise afterward if things go wayward.
• Encourage Healthy Conflict
If things are moving smoothly in a business group discussion, there is a problem. It is an indication that some group members are silent on some controversial issues, and the group can easily make mistakes. However, conflicts and criticisms in such group discussions require a certain level of confidence that allows leaders and employees to challenge each other without fear. Business leaders should create an open environment where people can challenge each other irrespective of their status. If necessary, one can institute a devil’s advocate in their group who can stir the pot to trigger some challenge or conflict that will help avoid mistakes in the conclusions agreed upon.
Businesses should be aware of groupthink and its effects. These tips will prove vital to helping business leaders avoid groupthink when making important decisions for their companies. With most business meetings shifting to the online space, leaders should learn how to implement these steps in their online group discussions.