We’re seeing it front page of the news a lot lately. A well known brand publishes an ad or a commercial that instantly comes with backlash and the question of, “How could they possibly think this was a good idea, did they not have a meeting about this?” We can assume that yes, they did have a meeting. It most likely went very well, everyone was in agreement, and the plans were finalized. Hence, the campaign itself was made in “poor taste.”
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs during decision making, based on group pressures and avoiding disrupting the harmony of said group. Giving the illusion of unanimity with the pressure to avoid conflict. This can lead to groups making content strategy decisions against better judgment, leading to possible repercussions. So, the question is, how can we avoid groupthink?
Self-censorship and self-doubt can play a major role in groupthink. If you disagree with the group, do not be afraid to speak your mind. Conformity can be hard to overcome but by going against the grain, you may help develop a better idea or avoid a less than favorable outcome.
Play the devil’s advocate, ask questions and challenge the group. Prior to a meeting or brainstorm session, think of a few questions you have about the topic at hand and prepare yourself to present. If new questions arise, be vocal and remember to speak your mind. Spark conversation and help generate new ideas by being a challenger in the group.
Prior to the meeting, ask attending members to brainstorm ideas and come prepared to present. This will help to ease members into open communication and share ideas. By having individuals give ideas you then open up a number of possibilities that may not have been conceived otherwise. Encourage your team members to have ideas ready will allow candid conversation and open up the meeting for a healthy debate about ideas.
Being mindful can be the first step to overcoming groupthink, and ensuring that the ideas your team generates are only the good ones. Speak your mind, ask questions, prepare and watch some of your best ideas come to life.