Three Ways To Avoid Groupthink In Meetings

Whether your sales team works remotely or in the office, chances are you have experienced groupthink when collaborating. Groupthink is a phenomenon that happens when a group of people go along with an initial idea without considering other alternatives. Rather than disagree or discuss other solutions, the group goes along with the first idea or opinion that gets spoken.

In many organizations, leaders are the first to speak up and set the tone for the conversation. However, now more than ever, leaders should wait to speak. This allows them to tap into the collective intelligence of their teams and invite a diversity of perspectives, says Luba Koziy, an associate director at BTS.

If you want to know how to overcome groupthink in your sales meetings, read on. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share tips from Koziy on how to make sure all ideas get brought to the table.

1. Make sure leaders speak last. Team members often latch on to the first thing said in meetings, which is why leaders shouldn’t be the first ones to speak. Koziy encourages sales leaders to sit back and give others time to form their own opinions and the space to express them. Even better, she says, is speaking first to invite a sales rep to contribute to the conversation and ensure everyone can chime in and contribute their thoughts. By waiting to speak, you can react to the points your sales reps make rather than seeing them latch onto your ideas.

2. Get ideas in different ways. Sometimes teams are affected by groupthink because team members don’t feel comfortable speaking up. You can help get everyone’s perspectives by experimenting with your idea-gathering, says Koziy. For example, instead of inviting verbal discussion, ask your sales reps to write down their response to a prompt on a sticky note. Have everyone hold up their sticky note at the same time. Without an anchor weighing them down, your team members are free to be more honest and creative.

3. Integrate the team’s ideas. According to Koziy, the best way for a leader to contribute to a meeting is by integrating the team’s ideas. While you can contribute your own thoughts and input, you should primarily look for common themes emerging from the discussion. You can do this by repeating back what you have heard. This helps the speakers know they are heard and understood. It also helps boost the team’s confidence in their ideas, Koziy adds.

Groupthink can squelch creativity and limit new ideas. As a sales leader, you can empower your team and invite innovative thinking by working to avoid groupthink. Remember that you don’t have to have all the answers. Instead, approach team meetings with a mindset of asking the right questions. Then, open up the (virtual) floor and let the ideas flow.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Luba Koziy is an associate director at BTS, an organization that works with leaders to help them make better decisions, convert those decisions to actions and deliver results.

filed under February 2021
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