The Amazing Race to Groupthink
My wife and I will occasionally watch old episodes of the reality television show “The Amazing Race”. We watch it because it’s fun to see places we’ve visited in the past or places we plan to visit in the future. We live in a great big interesting world.
I’ve also noticed that this show (as I’m sure is true of many other similar kinds of shows) is a fantastic object lesson in groupthink.
One loud leader who believes he knows the way shouts, “Here is the answer! Follow me!” And many follow.
Sometimes the loud leader’s solution is correct.
Other times the loud leader has led everyone down the wrong path.
Loud leader shuts up out of humiliation, but everyone who followed Loud Leader’s directions is left to sort out the mistake on their own.
Groupthink makes for fast decisions and efficiency when ticking off a task list.
Groupthink is also dangerous if Loud Leader is taking everyone over a cliff.
If you tend to be Loud Leader (or even Soft-Spoken Leader), work hard to get input from your team. Listen before explaining your solution. Someone may know a better path. Find your “devil’s advocate”. If you don’t have one, assign someone that task.
If you are a part of Loud Leader’s group, don’t be intimidated away from dissension. Unanimity is a dream world Loud Leader wants to live in. It’s okay to be the dissenting voice.
Especially if the group is following Loud Leader down a road that will never lead to the finish line.