Use Structured debate to avoid Groupthink


Management Tip of Week

Adapted from Harvard Business Review

To help your team respond to emerging threats and opportunities while avoiding the dangers of “groupthink” — teams or organizations operating on autopilot — hold frequent, structured debates.

Randomly assign different team members to argue opposing points of view. Then, at a regular team meeting or an offsite, set up a debate with scenarios such as: “Our organization’s mobile app will be obsolete within two years. Here’s what will replace it, and here’s what we need to do now to survive and thrive.”

Ask half the team to argue why the current mobile app is sufficient, and the other half to argue how and why the mobile app needs to be changed.

Debates like this can help overcome people’s reluctance to ask and answer tough questions about how the world has changed or is changing, and how the organization needs to evolve accordingly.

Adapted from “How Structured Debate Helps Your Team Grow,” by Ben Dattner

Author: Andrew Mann

Managing Partner at NorthBailey. Having had senior marketing & insight roles at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Coop and M&S, I'm now using my experience & network to solve strategic marketing problems for NorthBailey clients

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