Steps To Improve Small Group Decision Making

Small groups that are highly cohesive can often make decisions that seem correct, but in reality they are not what is in the best interest of the group. We are going to explore the communication theory of groupthink.

How Can Groupthink derail decision making process in an organization?

This is a concept that describes a highly cohesive group that shifts their beliefs and decision-making to ensure that the group remains intact. Obviously there are advantages of having a group of people make a decision and agree upon that decision. But when you are looking for a collaborative environment that is also bringing in diversity and alternative views, groupthink can be a detrimental factor in decision-making. Groupthink can affect an entire company, it can affect small groups within an organization, it can affect a board of directors group, or it can infect a collaboration group among a client and a service provider.

If your business values diversity of opinions, you will need to recruit diversity among your employees.

Groupthink often happens when people come from a similar background or have similar views on topics. More diversity in life experiences and cultural backgrounds leads to a business’s ability to look at additional options when making a decision.

Your Role As A Leader Matters

Staying impartial as a leader, founder, or manager within a business will ensure that you have a greater chance of reducing the groupthink occurrence. You may want to take more of a facilitator role rather than an opinionated role within the decision making process. Furthermore, taking an impartial role means that those making a decision will be less affected by the need to align their views with yours.

Creating an environment where conflict and debate is okay, will also help reduce groupthink within a work environment. It’s often believe that you should not say something negative about someone else’s opinion, but in reality if there’s respect and Trust within a group, it should be an environment where at debate can happen.  Constructive criticism and the ability to dig into the details means that all aspects of a problem are evaluated, and it will promote a more diverse and stronger solution.

Build Diversity Into The Conversation

Looking at alternative views in a defined way will help reduce groupthink. This may mean that you assign somebody in the group to always be a devil’s advocate, as long as they have a constructive and viable reason to advocate for the opposite of a proposed idea. Pulling in outside views can also be critical to dispelling groupthink within a business. Maybe someone outside of your department, or an advisor outside of your own business will have a different opinion or view that your group should consider.

At Offroad, we often work with Founders that are growing their business and moving into more of a CEO role. As that transition happens, they become stronger leaders and they are often working with additional employees.

Groupthink happens when you are cohesive as a group, and as a small business that is growing, you want to ensure that your cohesive and tight-knit group looks at alternative Solutions in any problem solving need that your business is going through.

Scott Fish

Scott Fish is the CMO at Off Road, responsible for the business development team and managing the marketing delivery and client management team. During the past two decades, he has worked with growing companies around the world in evolving industries such as tourism, franchises, hotels, sports associations and cultural organizations. Scott is a founding board member of SEMpdx, the largest regionally focused digital marketing organization in the US. He creates strategies to drive more business and connect better with their customers.