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Beware of Groupthink!

February 5, 2013

By Lisa Parker

Whether the topic is innovation, strategic thinking, or building effective teams, its vitally important to consider a wide diversity of thought for most every project. Why? Because Groupthink—the desire for harmony or conformity in a group that often results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome—can happen at any time. And nothing kills innovation quicker than team members who try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation or exploring alternative ideas and viewpoints.

So, to combat this corrosive power, leaders should always seek input from those with different thinking styles. Numerous research studies show that over the long run, teams made up of a diverse set of thinking styles (analytical, creative, logical, etc.) outperform those with similar thinking styles. Being able to learn from diverse points of view requires patience and skill and most of all, excellent active listening abilities. It often takes longer for teams built with a diverse set of thinking styles to form bonds, but in the end, the effort pays back in spades.

As Linkage partner Steven Shapiro, explains in his book Personality Poker, having someone play devil’s advocate to “your way” of thinking is essential to infusing fresh ideas into your organization. Seeking input from someone you don’t always see eye to eye with within the group provides a healthy look at outside opinions and may just provide an innovative solution to an old way of doing things.

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Does your team suffer from Groupthink? If so, Linkage can help. Click here to learn more about combating Groupthink and building innovation into your organization.

More about Lisa

Lisa Parker is a Principal Consultant at Linkage. She has experience in leadership strategy, team building, organizational development, and assessments, and innovation process management. Her specialties are building innovation capable organizations, team dynamics and communication, emotional intelligence, strategic thinking, design thinking and change, transition management and the creative process. She has focused on delivering programs for both Fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurial ventures.

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