Group Think & Conformity

Group-think or excessive concurrence-seeking usually occurs when teams become comfortable and do not see the need to challenge and/or change things.

Some ways to restrict groupthink and conformity include

- limiting the tenure of team members

- maximizing diversity amongst the team so that ideas are generated across disciplines from people unconcerned with boundaries. Similar to what cattle breeders call "hybrid vigour"

- appointing someone to act as "devil's advocate"

- bring outsiders in to evaluate the team's performance

- limit bonding sessions that restrict individuality

- to reduce this at meetings, get everyone to write down a brief summary of their views on each agenda item before the meeting. This procedure will help people value the diversity of knowledge and opinion in the group; it also helps to reduce the effect of the opinions of those who speak early and assertively, causing others to agree with them.

. Need to be aware of self-fulfilling prophecies, ie if people are labelled with something, like "smart"or "dumb", they will tend to live up to these reputations.

. Not realising the need to manage upwards. Too often the transitional team will focus on the lower levels of the organisation and neglect the upper echelons. Thus the need for the senior manager to focus on the senior management, Board and key outside stakeholders, such as shareholders, regulators, etc.. This allows for the transition team to focus on the organisation.

. Not realizing that in your change team you need to have members who can cover the following roles, ie

- stabiliser

- cheerleader

- persuader

- analyst

- pathfinder

- problem solver

- relationship builder

- facilitator (include learning)

- negotiator

 

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