Should You Fight the Status Quo? Usually No. Since groupthink tends to support the status quo and is relatively unfriendly to innovation, isn’t it your duty as an employee of the company to fight it? Certainly, companies need innovation, even if they’re not very good at it (see my book: Creating the Innovation Culture). You can count on the fingers of one hand CEOs who say, “No, no—new thinking is not welcome here.” So companies need to...

Can You Prevent Group Conformity? Maybe. Groupthink is a powerful but unseen force in organizations. In our example, you were wise to consider how you would be perceived by the group and it probably didn’t matter that you went along with the majority. But what if the outcome had been really important? Or if you were sure you had the right answer? How could you discourage conformity to open up the discussion? Below are ways to handle the most co...

How Groupthink Can Get You In the last post, you wanted to generate out-of-the-box ideas but were shot down. You left the meeting feeling vaguely bad, perhaps because your idea never got off the ground. Perhaps, but a much more powerful force had probably doomed your idea from the start: Groupthink. What is groupthink? Groupthink is the tendency of a group to hold the same opinions and views. Sometimes that’s good. For something straightforward...

Dysfunctional Decision-making—Thinking Yes, Saying No or Vice Versa Everybody wants to make good decisions but there can be situations where that’s not possible. Indeed, the way a conclusion is reached can be completely dysfunctional. Often due to a group falling prey to groupthink. Let’s work through an example. You work in a large document shredding company. The company needs a new strategic direction because businesses now post confident...

Getting Collaboration Right  Your group didn’t get a report in on time and you need to figure out what caused the lack of collaboration. You want to challenge the assumption that the most important thing is getting along. Raising the issue with Megan and Jean won’t be an easy conversation but it’s necessary. Challenging the lack of collaboration YOU: So, guys, I wanted to talk about the report not going out last week. Expect avoidance Jean...

Introduction to the Dark Side
/ November 7, 2017

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you`ve been blind-sided? That is, something has happened at work, often to your detriment, and you didn’t see it coming. Might be that you expect to get the promotion and it went to another guy, much less able than you. Might be that you were telling like it is and find yourself on the outs with the rest of the team. Or even find yourself going along with a group decision even though y...

Manager Stream
/ November 7, 2017

If you’ve read the Introduction to The Dark Side, you know that if you can’t manage these undercurrents well, your career will stall and you might even find yourself slipping back. But a manager has a dual role. You are both manager and employee It’s no news to you that in some situations you are the boss with the responsibility to lead your team and in others, you are your boss’ employee, tasked with implementing her directions...

Employee Stream
/ November 6, 2017

If you’ve read the Introduction to the Dark Side, you know that you need to pay attention to the undercurrents which operate in every company. The Employee Stream has two audiences: Workers who are individual contributors and do not have any one reporting to them Managers who are employees of their bosses, and are subject to the same stresses of an employee as any other. Managers have a further challenge to manage  undercurrents in ...

All about me
/ April 29, 2016

All About Me I have long been fascinated by what I call the Dark Side—the undercurrents of power, lying, groupthink, and others—which are present in all organizations but are rarely acknowledged or even recognized. I worked for many years in a large corporation and then for twenty years consulted with large corporations. In all this time, I saw where the favorite and not the best person got the promotion; where you knew enough to ke...

The Honest One
/ August 4, 2015

About This book is both a novel and essays about work life. In the novel, David is a young man intent on moving up in the company, Protech, which designs security systems. To do this, he steals an idea for a new product from a junior employee and sells it to senior management as his own. The idea takes off but David has to constantly having to do questionable things to keep his status as golden boy. He spies on another colleague for fea...