Prevent “Groupthink” and Encourage New Ideas

The term “Groupthink” is based on Irving L. Janis’s research. He also published a book about it under the same name in 1972. I’ve heard of this term rather recently. So, what does “Groupthink” mean?

Do you remember the last time, let say, you were in a corporate meeting, and the subject of discussion was a very important issue, for example, cutting employee’s wages by 50%. Everyone else except you supported the proposal. And you, instead of expressing your opinion and saying, “Guys, what is this about? Cutting salaries by 50%? Are you out of your minds?”, you shied away and kept silent. You thought to yourself, “If everyone except me thinks the same way, I must be wrong, I must be missing out on something.” Congratulations my friend, you’ve been another Groupthink victim. Don’t be too hard on yourself, we have all been there.

So, what causes Groupthink? Sometimes, it’s peer pressure. Sometimes, it’s the fear of being ostracized. Sometimes it’s the fear of taking responsibility. Sometimes, it’s the fear of looking like a stupid person with stupid ideas (even though there’s no such thing as stupid ideas or a stupid person). Is there any way out of this Groupthink tragedy? I believe there is 🙂 Below are three ideas you can implement when a group you are also a part of needs to take an important decision:

  1. Make sure the group contains individuals with diverse points of view.
  2. Before the discussion starts, ask everyone to write their opinions about the subject on a piece of paper and keep it secret until the end of the discussion.
  3. During the discussion, make sure everyone expresses their ideas, not just the dominant speakers. Pay special attention to the silent guys 🙂

Do you have any other ideas that can prevent Groupthink? Please feel free to share below:)

Dear Reader, did you find this article useful? if yes, I’d really appreciate it if you could share the link/article with your network. Thank you:)

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