How to lead wiser groups

You as a leader can take concrete steps to counteract groupthink and integrate a diverse range of independent information and opinions. To increase the success of your group decision-making processes, adopt the following specific behaviors, processes, and digital innovations.

1- GET EVERYONE TO PARTICIPATE

Encourage individuals to share information and opinions
– Be inquisitive and self-silencing: Once you speak as group leader, individuals of lower status tend not to share information that diverges from your viewpoint.
– Reward group success: When individuals have little to gain from group success, they have little reason to take the risk of sharing information that others do not have and might not support.

Assign different tasks and roles
– Divide up the labor: To increase the chances that everyone will share their information and opinions.
– Change perspective: “Even more than individuals, groups stick to courses of action that are failing,”

2- SEPARATE DECISION-MAKING INTO TWO STAGES

Explicitly separating the sharing of relevant ideas and information from the selection of an optimal solution sets the stage for group members to give all they have to each process.

3- USE DIGITAL INNOVATIONS TO SIDESTEP GROUPTHINK

“For the future, some of the most promising innovations (for making groups wiser) are supported by modern technologies.”

Unleash innovation by designing an effective tournament
Tournaments have long been used to unleash innovation. “But with the rise of the Internet, their scale and frequency have jumped up dramatically.”

Use prediction markets to inform crucial questions
Prediction markets provide incentive to a wide range of internal employees to make independent, honest bets on organizational outcomes, thereby often making it possible to achieve “stunningly accurate” reality checks on deliberative processes.

Ask for public comment
To collect a wide range of dispersed information, consider trying to seek public comment on decisions, when appropriate.

To read the article in full:

Overcoming the obstacles to collective intelligence

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Based on Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter by Cass R. Sunstein and Reid Hastie (Harvard Business Review Press, December 2014) and an interview with Mithra Sarrafi, MD human resources and internal communications, and director of the Covéa Campus.