How to Make Better Group Decisions


Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

*     *     *

When you have a tough business problem to solve, you probably bring it to a group. But there are risks to asking a team to collectively make decisions — namely, groupthink. Fortunately, there are behavioral science-based tactics that can help overcome the downsides.

o First, keep the group as small as possible. Having more voices in the room increases the likelihood that you’ll default to decisions that enforce the status quo.

o Next, make sure your group is diverse — in every sense of the word — in order to reduce bias. Try appointing a “devil’s advocate,” a person whose job is to test consensus.

o Watch out for blind trust in experts: While they can help you become more informed, making them part of your decision-making can sway your team’s judgments. So you might invite them to provide their opinion on a clearly defined topic, but position them as informed outsiders.

And finally, make sure that the group shares collective responsibility. Everyone should feel accountable for the decision and its outcomes.

This tip is adapted from 7 Strategies for Better Group Decision-Making,” by Torben Emmerling and Duncan Rooders

*     *     *

Here’s a direct link to dozens of other Management Tips.

Posted in

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.