Don’t fall victim to groupthink: How to make effective decisions in your Crisis Management Team

Photo by CDC
Photo by CDC

Making decisions during a crisis can be a daunting task. The pressure is on to make quick, effective decisions that can affect the outcome of the situation. In a crisis management team, it’s crucial to ensure that the decision-making process is efficient, unbiased, and results-oriented. Unfortunately, groupthink, a phenomenon in which the group’s desire for consensus overrides rational decision-making, can hinder the team’s effectiveness in times of crisis.

Ingen alternativ text angiven för den här bilden
The subjects’ task was to determine which of the lines A, B or C is as long as the line in the picture on the left.

Let’s take a look at an example of groupthink to understand how it can occur. In the 1950s, social psychologist Solomon Asch conducted an experiment in which he asked participants to judge the length of lines. The participants were all actors, except for one, who was the true subject of the experiment. In each group, the actors provided clearly incorrect answers, and the subject was asked to agree or disagree with them. In the end, 75% of the subjects agreed with the actors’ incorrect answers, even though they knew they were wrong. This experiment demonstrated how powerful groupthink can be in influencing an individual’s decision-making.

To avoid groupthink in crisis management teams, here are five key points to keep in mind:

🔍 1. Diversify your team: A team composed of members with different backgrounds, expertise, and perspectives can provide a broader range of ideas and solutions to problems. This can help prevent groupthink and ensure that all angles are considered.

💬 2. Encourage open communication: Team members should feel comfortable expressing their opinions, even if they differ from the rest of the group. Encourage open dialogue and active listening to ensure that all viewpoints are heard.

🤔 3. Consider all options: It’s important to consider all possible solutions and their potential consequences. Avoid making rash decisions without weighing all available options.

📈 4. Set clear criteria: Establish clear criteria for decision-making based on the team’s goals and objectives. This can help ensure that decisions are made based on objective criteria rather than personal biases or preferences.

👥 5. Assign a devil’s advocate: Assign one team member to play the role of devil’s advocate. This person’s role is to challenge the group’s assumptions and offer alternative perspectives, even if they are unpopular. This can help ensure that all options are considered and that the team avoids groupthink.

In conclusion, groupthink can be a significant obstacle to effective decision-making in crisis management teams. By diversifying the team, encouraging open communication, considering all options, setting clear criteria, and assigning a devil’s advocate, teams can make better decisions that can lead to better outcomes during a crisis. As a crisis manager, it’s essential to keep these key points in mind and be aware of the dangers of groupthink to ensure that your team is making the best decisions possible.

That’s all for this week’s edition of the Weekly Crisis Thought. I hope you found this week’s topic on group think and decision-making in crisis management teams helpful. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for future topics, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. And if you found this newsletter valuable, be sure to share it with your colleagues and friends in the industry. Stay safe, stay prepared, and I see you next week!