I just finished reading chapter seven of Adam Grant’s excellent book, entitled Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. The chapter is called, Rethinking Groupthink: The Myths of Strong Cultures, Cults, and Devil’s Advocates. Here are a few kernels of wisdom I gleaned:
Work to create safe, cozy environments…but cultivate creative dissent.
Beware of confirmation bias– only focusing on evidence that supports your conclusion.
Beware of overconfidence – No matter how good you or your company/organization has been, there is always the risk of making huge mistakes. Question what you “know” to be true.
Have strong opinions, weakly held.
Criticize, but make sure it is relevant.
Argue like you’re right, listen like you’re wrong.
Rank order options before choosing one – Beware of choosing what appears to be the best decision prematurely. Ranking them in order allows the discussion to continue a little while longer than if you simply try to get to “the” correct answer as quickly as possible.
To counter group think try to disrupt consensus. Even if the initial disruptive idea is clearly wrong, it opens the door for new and better suggestions.
Encourage dissenters – We need to do more than appoint artificial devil’s advocates, we need to unearth real ones.
Don’t let loyalty stand in the way of truth and openness.
Good luck :-)!