ONEplace Blog

News, comments, resources, and more for nonprofits.

Groupthink

Using groups to solve problems, make decisions, and set strategy generally leads to better outcomes. However, history recounts instance after horrible instance where businesses were ruined and lives were lost due to a phenomenon known as groupthink.

Groupthink occurs when a group of people make a disastrous decision due to a desire for harmony or conformity. It’s a controversial topic, and the subject continues to get attention. More than 20 major studies on aspects of groupthink have been published since 2009.

One of the earliest and most influential researchers in this area, Irving Janis (Yale University), devised ways of preventing groupthink. In reviewing these, I found these basic threads: use a process that maximizes objectivity, ensure all available information is gathered (facts & informed opinions), evaluate all reasonable alternatives, and assess risks before committing.

Our ONEplace Leadership Series offers management processes that help on many fronts – including the prevention of groupthink. The next offering in this series (Group Decision Makingon Jan 31) addresses this particular dynamic most directly. Coming next month, we will tackle Effective Meetings. Please consider attending these workshops.

Best,

Thom
ThomA

Thriving in Uncertain Times

One of my favorite authors is Jim Collins. His newest release, Great by Choice, addresses the question: why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?

Using a comparison study method as he did in Good to Great, Collins demonstrates the value of strong values, consistently applied and the importance of a long-term approach to mission-driven work. As he nears the close of the book, he reiterates one of the main lessons from his previous work: “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness is largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”

What conscious choice has your organization made – what is its mission? Do you know it? Does everyone on the staff and board know it? Is it engraved on their hearts?

What impact (or difference) does your organization make in the lives of your target audience(s)? How do you know that? Are all of your programs and activities contributing to this impact or could some be changed or abandoned?

To succeed in times such as these – indeed, at any time – tough questions need to be addressed. Clarity and focus on mission & purpose is the first step to a thriving organization.

Best,

Thom

Jim Collins provides a Good to Great Diagnostic Tool that you may use to assess where your organization is on its journey to being great. When there are differences between businesses and nonprofit (social sector) organizations, he points these out. Find the tool at http://www.jimcollins.com/tools/diagnostic-tool.pdf

Book

Great by choice
0062120999
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