The term “groupthink” was coined in 1972 by Irving Janis and referred to the psychological phenomenon of a group making the same or similar decisions despite individual differences among its members. Groupthink is a social process that can occur in any type of group, including government, education, business, and families.
Groupthink is characterized by a lack of creative thinking and original ideas because the members are afraid to stand out from the crowd. They also have a tendency to justify their actions after they have made them and do not re-examine their decisions until it is too late. In addition, members tend to be less critical of their own actions because others in the group often persuade them.
The term Go Fever is used to describe the phenomenon of people being overly focused on completing tasks quickly and without thinking about potential problems.
Go fever drives us to push ourselves, but this mentality comes at a cost – we lose focus on what’s important and end up making mistakes that we wouldn’t have made if we had taken more time.
Causes of Groupthink
- The power of loyalty, and obedience – When people are part of the same team or work together for long periods of time, they become more loyal to each other and less likely to question or criticize any decision made by their superiors.
- The illusion of unanimity – Group members assume that everyone agrees with them because they don’t want to be seen as “different”.
- The desire for harmony – Group members want to maintain harmony in the group so they do not risk any conflicts or disagreements.
- The desire for social order – Members who are part of a group want to maintain social order so no one gets hurt and they feel safe.
- The illusion of invulnerability – Members believe that they are impervious to outside threats so they don’t question any instructions given by the leader.
Causes of Go Fever
- The need to complete a task quickly to achieve a specific goal
- Excessive pressure from bosses or peers
- Feeling like they have less time due to increased workloads
- Being overworked and understaffed
- Ignoring the risks involved in a task
Example of Groupthink & Go Fever
Collapse of Swissair: Swissair was a Swiss airline that ceased operations on October 31, 2002. The airline had a history of poor decisions and mismanagement due to similar backgrounds of board members, which led to the company’s bankruptcy in 2001.
Apollo 1: The Apollo 1 cabin fire was a fatal fire that killed all three crew members. The fire happened on January 27, 1967, during a routine test of the Apollo 1 command module. The term “Go Fever” was coined after this fire, as it was believed that there was an increased sense of risk-taking while under pressure.
Entrepreneurial Strategies to Avoid Groupthink & Go Fever
Encourage dissent and disagreement among members of your Organization
Encouraging dissent and disagreement is an important skill for any leader to have. It can be difficult for people to speak up if they feel like their ideas will be disregarded or that their opinions are unwelcome. By encouraging the free expression of ideas, you allow your organization to grow and grow.
Use diverse groups and avoid homogenous groups
Diversity is not just about gender or ethnicity, but also about the way people think, act and communicate. It provides a range of ideas and perspectives that can help companies improve their business.
Look for outside perspectives
It’s important for companies to look for outside perspectives and be open to ideas from people who are not part of the team or experts in your industry. This helps avoid homogeneity within teams and groups as well as the risk of being blindsided by bad news when you don’t have multiple sources of information.
Assigning clear roles
The group is divided into three roles: the facilitator, the administrator, and the “maker.” The facilitator is responsible for keeping the group on track and ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard.
The administrator ensures that the group gets their fair share of time to speak. The maker does not speak during this process but rather takes notes on what each person has said. They then create a summary of what was said and send it out to all members of the team.
Leadership is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s about building a team that will last and succeeds long after your tenure.
You must take the time to reflect on what you’ve done and what you still want to do. This can only happen when you slow down and take the time to assess your situation.
Slowing down will help you speed up because it allows you to think more clearly, plan more strategically, and make better decisions.
Push Employees Without Stressing Them Out
It is important to let your employees know that they are valued, but too much pressure can be counterproductive. When employees feel like they’re under pressure to perform, they’ll likely become stressed out in the process.
Pressure is a part of life and it’s necessary for us to thrive in order to perform at our best. However, it’s important that we learn how to apply pressure appropriately and not overdo it. If you want your employees to perform at their best, you should ensure that they’re happy and fulfilled in their work.
Don’t Rush Solutions When Problem-Solving
There are certain situations where we rush to find a solution without taking the time to properly assess the problem. This can lead to worse consequences later on.
The best way to solve problems is by considering all possible outcomes and then making the best decision based on that.
The key to avoiding groupthink is to have different opinions and varied perspectives.
It’s important to have dissenting voices, consider different viewpoints and slow down the phase of leadership. This will help you avoid groupthink, go fever and make better decisions for your company or project.
Peter is a business coach with a humanistic approach. His expertise includes coaching in career transition, leadership development, and executive coaching. He holds an MSc in Coaching Psychology from the University of Sydney. Visit his website to know more about him at https://www.businesscoachsydney.com/coaches/
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