Have you ever wondered why some teams thrive while others struggle to survive? Research shows that there are invisible forces that may be undermining the success of your team.
For a while, consensus decision making was a thing, and lots of companies touted it as integral to their healthy democratic culture.
Consensus can’t be a bad thing… can it? Actually, it can – unless you’re armed and ready for groupthink.
Groupthink is a tricky concept. Irving Janis, a social psychologist credited as the first to develop the idea, defined it as a “psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group.” At first, Janis’ take on groupthink doesn’t seem so bad. After all, isn’t the point of meeting to gather folks together to come to an agreed-upon decision about what needs to be done?
Check out the video to find out how it can turn the most well-intentioned, intelligent, creative team into a group of people nodding and smiling while keeping their best ideas to themselves.
In his extensive research on groupthink, Janis developed a checklist of eight symptoms that your team may be crippled by a “smile and nod” culture. They are:
- Group cohesiveness is viewed as more important than individual freedom of expression
- The group operates in an insulated atmosphere
- Group leaders demonstrate impartial behavior
- There is no standard method in place for evaluating ideas and decisions
- Members’ social backgrounds and ideology are homogenous
- The group is under a lot of stress to perform
- The group has experienced recent failures
- There is excessive difficulty placed on the task of making a decision, such as a moral dilemma
And check out this post for more about groupthink and other biases that can cripple engagement and undermine a healthy company culture.