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Have you ever told your boss or colleagues that you think they are wrong?

Told them that you disagree and that their idea is rubbish?

Most of the time, we accept that they are right because they are either above us in rank, or because we are in the minority.

This happens a lot during meetings – individuals shy away from saying what they really think because they don’t want to be seen as disruptive or unsupportive.

It’s called Groupthink.

Groupthink is defined as ‘the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group, resulting typically in unchallenged, poor-quality decision-making’.

It mostly occurs in groups where the people involved have similar backgrounds or personalities. They are more concerned about maintaining harmony than making good, intelligent decisions.

One way to avoid Groupthink in meetings is to get each attendee to write down their opinion on the specific issue at hand before the meeting starts. This way, their true thoughts are known and they can express them freely without being influenced by others.

The 1957 film Twelve Angry Men is set in a jury room where 12 individuals must decide the fate of an 18 year old man who has been accused of stabbing his father to death.

At the beginning of the film, eleven of the twelve jurors think that the man is guilty, but that’s not enough to send the young man to his death, the decision has to be unanimous. The main character, played by Henry Fonda, has his doubts and is the only one who thinks the man is not guilty.

He doesn’t think like the rest. He speaks up for what he believes, that the young man is not guilty, despite the fact he is the only one within the group who thinks so. The opposite of Groupthink.

In business people who always agree with their bosses are counterproductive, even disruptive.

William Wrigley Jr. certainly didn’t like his staff to be ‘yes’ men or women.

He made a fortune selling chewing gum. His products can be found in the mouths of teenagers and stuck to the soles of shoes all over the world.

In 1931 he was interviewed for The American Magazine. He said that he preferred employees to challenge him and to tell him if they thought he was wrong about something.

He said “Business is built by men who care—care enough to disagree, fight it out to a finish, get facts.”

He hit the nail on the head when he said, “When two men always agree, one of them is unnecessary.