The Problem Is We Always Agree

If members of your team consistently agree they either don’t want to voice their true opinion or everyone drank the same water and you need to shake up the group.

The purpose of a group is to bring together different people with varying perspectives in order to offer feedback and suggestions. Groupthink defeats that.

Here are some signs that your team suffers from groupthink:

There is no debate. No matter the issue, there are many possible outcomes. A group should weigh these outcomes. And how can they be weighed if there is no conflict? True analyzing, testing and evaluating require conflict.

Stereotypes are used as facts. Many times like-minded people treat stereotypes as facts, either because they don’t know better or it’s easier. If it is impossible to diversify your group (which I find hard to believe), at least have someone in your group do research on your target audience beforehand.

There is no Plan B. There should always be a contingency plan. If you have not discussed a contingency plan, chances are you have not discussed the many possible outcomes of your decision.

Here are some things that you can do to combat groupthink:

Have at least one person play devil’s advocate at each meeting. This will train people to look for the loopholes and not just take the information at face value. This will also provide a safe environment for dissension and erase concerns of being blackballed later.

Have the leader voice his/her opinion last. This gives people an opportunity to voice their opinion without fear of upsetting the leader. It also gives the leader an opportunity to hear many perspectives, which may sway his/her final perspective.

Distribute a copy of the agenda before the meeting and have members contribute their feedback anonymously. Have an unbiased party compile the feedback and use that as discussion points for the meeting.

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One response to “The Problem Is We Always Agree

  1. In team building, I avoid meetings! The process is more like an extended “cocktail party” or “mixer”, usually without the “cocktails”. 🙂 Just listen closely to the dialectic that flows from naturally occurring and ever-changing sub-groups ~ relationally safe and delightfully creative!

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