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Groupthink 2.0
Groupthink 2.0
Groupthink 2.0
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Groupthink 2.0

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  • 1. GROUPTHINK 2.0By Slim FairviewI sat on an economic development committee for over two years. In that time, Iobserved a group of people, some professionals (CEO banking), economicdevelopment, etc. and community people. (Business people.)I observed the group. There was no groupthink. It looked like someone trying toherd cats.After two years of attempting to stimulate investment, attract business, deal withgreen fields and brown fields, we finally had the opportunity to entertain a stateofficial of the department that hands out grant money. (Its their job to give moneyaway.)We put on a great presentation, tour, helicopter, luncheon, the works. We wereshot down--unceremoniously. (As Mrs. Slocum used to say, "How ignimonious"sic)Upshot. "We give money for projects, not plans."They licked their wounds. Still, they did not accomplish much.On another committee, (Finance committee of a government programme.) Iopined on moving funds into technology related projects. Website development,improvement, etc. People listened to me. We voted; agree--unanimously--fundswere moved. Subsequently, the web presence and technology use became vital.We were that much ahead of the game.Groupthink is a result of consensus building which was a consequence of theabsence of leadership. Too, an absence of followship.I addressed that issue in another discussion where a budding expert was givingexamples of how he/she helped groups avoid groupthink. In short, this individualencouraged groupthink.It is somewhat disheartening to watch (as I watched the members of thateconomic development committee), people discussing the same issues that hadbeen discussed, have been discussed, are being discussed and will continue tobe discussed.Ive studied groups, been in groups, been in a group that studied itself, worked in
  • 2. groups, on committees, on a committee to form a committee to set up aprogramme to form committees, and I dissected the different structures usedhandle projects and explained why each does not work. However, as I amadamant in my opposition to articles that are descriptive and not prescriptive, Ialso set up an organisational chart that will work for one of my ppt. presentations.As I read in clever book on management just the other night (While waiting formy cat to come home) Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles byRichard Courtney and George Cassidy."Parks are full of statues erected to honour leaders. There are no statues erectedto honour committees.""This too shall pass."In the heat of battle, no one turns to a committee. Everyone looks to a leader.See who they are looking to. That is a leader. That is the leader.In my much younger days, when I took a holiday job while I was working on anovel, the VP came in, furious, because the department was in a chaotic state.For the second time. He asked my supervisor,"What do we have to do to get this straightened out?"My supervisor looked to me. The VP looked to me. I had a second operation(holiday) up and running the following day. Moreover, I was not even an actualemployee of the company. Only a holiday temp.The VP did not say, “Lets form a committee to find a solution.”I did not receive a smiley face key chain.The flip-side to one aspect on group think is that people propose new ideas,however, 1. Due to groupthink the ideas are rejected; 2. due to a lack of abilitydemonstrated by several members of the group, the new idea is rejected; 3 lackof ability of the "leader" the idea is rejected; there is a divisiveness among thegroup (for and against) we move into the mode of consensus building and thenew idea is watered down to where it is palatable....However! The biggest problem with respect to "group think" is hiding in plainsight. The word "group". In addition, if you do "win over" the other members ofthe group and all embrace your new idea you end up with [wait for it]GroupThink 2.0
  • 3. Now you have two conflicting ideas at play. 1. Getting rid of Group Think and 2.Consensus building. On the corporate level, you have Risk Management andRisk Assessment. There is a cost-benefit analysis that new ideas must gothrough.Finally (or not) there is the needy member(s) of the group who, after having anidea rejected, refuse to accept that the idea was rejected on the basis of a lack ofmerit, but who feel personally demeaned, diminished, marginalised and so on.A greater reason that people do not propose new ideas is a personal one--thelack of ability to make objective assessments.Regards,SlimMail slimfairview@yahoo.comCopyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview

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