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.
The other night I was shopping when a cashier gave the twenty-minute warning. You know the “XYZ store will be closing in 20 minutes. Please bring your final selections to the register” warning.
This sounds like a reasonable request, right? Yeah, I thought so, too. That was until I got to the checkout area.
First of all, there was only ONE register open, but there were FOUR employees organizing merchandise on the floor. Okay, do they not see the long line wrapped around the magazines? Do they not see the customers looking at them like “WTF, open a register already.” Is there a reason no one can open another register?
Secondly, why does the cashier keep making those announcements every five minutes? Why is she rushing customers to get in line? Her line is already too long and the other employees are STILL organizing the floor… I mean it’s only been 10 minutes, but who’s counting?
And lastly, since when did it become more important to clean up the store than to service the customers? I mean really, can you fold those t-shirts when the line gets a little shorter?
Here’s the lesson. If you’re going to spend your time, money and energy designing a great store environment and marketing your products, take the time to provide a great shopping experience. And this experience includes everything – from the time your customers enter the store until the time they get in the checkout line until they leave your parking lot and carry your products home. And no one likes to hurry up and wait.
Towanda Long aka The Café Lady
A few weeks ago I worked a tradeshow exhibit booth at a convention. While taking my afternoon stroll around the exhibit area (mostly to check out the competition and to find inspiring ideas) I chatted with a possible vendor that was also exhibiting.
Her business was a great fit for one of my future marketing projects. I was excited at the possibilities and gave her my contact information. She was to follow-up with me after the show to schedule a meeting.
When I hadn’t heard from her in two weeks I figured she must have forgotten about me. I considered calling her, but never got around to it. Over four weeks later she contacted me, but my excitement was gone.
Why? Because a call within a week says, “I am on top of my business and I look forward to working with you.” A call within two weeks says, “I am an efficient business person, but not overbearing.”
But four weeks? That makes me ask questions. Can I trust her to respond in a timely manner? Will she value my business? Will my products arrive on time? Will she call me with updates? Is she on top of her business details?
I’ll still consider a meeting, but my enthusiasm to work with her is gone. Her follow-up has shown me some unflattering things, and she has to overcome that.
What does your follow-up say about you?
Towanda Long aka The Café Lady
Posted in branding, Business, General, marketing, Marketing Tips, mid level professionals, networking, self promotion, senior professionals, Towanda Long
Tagged branding, business follow-up, marketing, tradeshow exhibit