Learn how to foster diversity of thought by engaging outliers (and preventing group think). Also learn how to create a culture of feedback that respects employee contribution to organizational results and values employees’ growth and development.
- The real power of diversity is what it prevents: dreaded groupthink, which discourages alternate points of view, new ways to solve problems, creative approaches to gain efficiencies, and new ideas for product innovation. Groupthink can be a stifling phenomena where people refrain from expressing doubts, raising concerns, being bold, and assuming personal responsibility. On the other hand, high-performing teams cultivate a culture where the expression of different viewpoints are safely expressed and expected. There are three things you can do to foster diversity of thought among your team, especially during meetings. As Peter Drucker said about the effective executive, you got to know how to run a productive meeting. Ensure teams establish ground rules where it's safe to disagree, and treat conflict as an essential part of coming to agreement and creating commitment. To ensure this happens, build in time for debate. This includes outside of meetings too, building white space into project schedules and inserting timelines as part of deadlines. Embrace the outlier, also known as the devil's advocate. Diversity is all about different perspectives, and the person with a different viewpoint should be celebrated, never shunned. Lastly, hold your views lightly. It's easy to add judgment before you have all the facts. A good sign of healthy engagement is when people are asking a lot of why questions because they truly want to understand. Engaging outliers is one way to prevent groupthink with the goal of fostering a culture where diversity of thought is a key tenet. When you're intentional, you'll create a culture of feedback that respects each employee's unique contribution to the organization's results, and values each person's path toward grow and development.