How Groupthink can harm your company and how to solve it

People in companies generally confuse the following 2 main concepts:

– Collaborative thinking.
– Groupthink.

Collaborative thinking help people in companies to come to an agreement after evaluating a problem from different perspectives, Groupthink does not.

Groupthink occurs when a team with a particular problem has to make irrational or problematic decisions because its members value more harmony and coherence than accurate analysis and critical evaluation.

During these situations, members of the teams are strongly discouraged from any disagreement with the consensus and set aside their own thoughts and feelings to unquestioningly follow the word of the leading person.

This attitude can harm companies, as it doesn’t allow enterprises to evolve, gain more flexibility, or adapt to new threats or market disruptions.

It is important to question if these patterns have become mental models of the people in those teams. If this is the case, you should deal with the patterns before suggesting any additional change to their processes.

In order to break these dynamics in your company, you should make sure that teams regularly reflect on their behaviors and constantly challenge their existing beliefs and premises.

A way to do this is by having frequent retrospective meetings. In here, Coaches, Leaders or Change agents should make sure that teams consolidate the outcomes of these meetings into new patterns, instead of just creating a list of actionable points or actions for the coming weeks.

Failing to do this will see the changes quickly regress to their original state.

It is also a good idea to make sure there are clear working agreements in place and improve them regularly.

Can you see any Groupthink in your company?

Thanks for listening,
Erich.

If you want to know more about the ways to build a more responsive company, check my book Leading Exponential Change.

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