Have you ever made a bad decision? Sure, we all have. But did you make it in a group setting? Were you pressured by the group to move in a direction you did not want to go? It does happen. Dysfunctional decisions are common. It just is not unique to Central Ohio. It happens. Often these decisions have a major effect in an organization because of the level of decision and the decision makers.
Janus (1972, 1982) and his Groupthink Theory involve highly cohesive groups that focus on one course of action without realistically appraising alternate ideas. In fact, if individuals speak out in defense of various solutions, they are often labeled as dissidents.
Looking at situations in an objective way is critical. So is influencing people with the right information. When given a problem that needs a group decision, follow a process similar to the one below:
- What is the history of the problem?
- What is the current situation?
- What are three alternatives for improvement?
- Which one is the best one?
- Implement and test for a set period of time.
These general phases keep everyone on the same page and gets them to work together to solve the problem and make a good decision. Doubts and disagreements are aired in the group sessions and everything is documented by note taking or audio recording. These serve as excellent sources of information and maximize efficiency.
No one member is above reproach when quality decisions are made. Leadership has to “share” discussions and involve everyone equally and with great integrity. One of the toughest processes to master in business is organizational decision making. It is a natural inclination to want things to go smoothly and in a particular way. No group at any level is as important as the decisions that are made.
What happens in conference rooms here and around Columbus is a true team sport where everyone has a say. Participation in decision making, by individuals and small groups, brings the workplace increased value in both ideas and goal setting. Organizations are only better because of it.
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