In her latest blog, “Does Groupthink Hurt Your Productivity at Work?,” Stack takes a look at the role of brainstorming in decision making. This routine process in today’s business meetings is meant to meld staff members into a tightly knit team through collective thinking and ownership. What could possibly go wrong?
While Stack acknowledges brainstorming can be a useful tool, she is quick to point out its potential to backfire: when you gather many creative, talented people to form a consensus, individual creativity may be diluted. The group’s more vocal members are going to call the majority of the shots, and the introverts among them vote to approve the leading idea. The rationale may be to avoid disapproval from coworkers or just get it over with, in order to get back to other work.
Stack says that it is not uncommon for a group to lose the ability to consider the full range of ideas, which defeats the purpose of the groupthink exercise altogether, because some team members don’t want to “rock the boat.”
“Every company has its own corporate culture, and all it takes is a few assertive people to dominate it,” Stack says. “Whether intended or not, this reality offers fertile ground for the growth of groupthink, if a team isn’t aware of differing styles.
“If it gets out of hand, we risk becoming stagnant clusters of team players and yes-people, afraid to speak our minds and take initiative.”
Stack says if the groupthink approach isn’t monitored carefully and approached with caution, it can lead to a climate that it stifles innovation.
While there remains a need for some structure in the workplace, weeding out groupthink is just as important, Stack says, offering options for managers and team leaders to consider different approaches to teamwork and innovation.
“A corporate culture wide open to creativity and the conditions conductive to it represents the best of all possible worlds,” Stack says. “Those who work best in solitude might have access to special rooms where they don’t have to wear noise-canceling earphones just to think.
“If this proves unrealistic, telecommuting represents another option for introverts who cherish their creative solitude.”
While acknowledging the importance of collaboration to any business’s growth and success, Stack offers guidance to utilize collaboration most effectively, utilize innovative techniques, and avoid groupthink.
For more insight on the role of productive decision making in today’s business environment and its effect on workplace productivity, visit TheProductivityPro.com website, Email Laura@TheProductivityPro.com, or call 303-471-7401.
About Laura Stack:
Laura Stack is a time management and productivity expert who has been speaking and writing about human potential and peak performance since 1992. She has implemented employee productivity improvement programs at Wal-Mart, Cisco Systems, UBS, Aramark, and Bank of America. Stack presents keynotes and seminars internationally for leaders, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and professional services firms on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in the workplace.
The president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management firm specializing in high-stress environments, Stack is the bestselling author of five books: “What to do When There’s Too Much to do” (2012); “SuperCompetent”