Why matching your co-worker may be more than just a fashion sin

3 Jul

blogpost_groupthinkHave you ever noticed that co-workers often start to use the same language, dress similarly, or even take on similar habits?

While this can be a sign of a cohesive culture, it can also be a symptom of Groupthink – the type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas.

Individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking often gets lost in the pursuit of cohesiveness, so how can you keep your organization thinking fresh thoughts?

Bring in a new perspective. An injection of someone with related experience (either functional: as in a social media expert or industry related: as in a marketer from a different field) can spark new thinking by pulling everyone out of the status quo.

Here are a few practices we use to spur new insights and disrupt groupthink:

1. Devote quality time to defining the problem before trying to solving it.

2. View the opportunity/challenge as if you are someone else (this could be as the consumer, or as an astronaut solving the problem in space).

3. Practice making unusual connections between ideas, objects, media etc. using some creative exercises (Creatingminds.org has some great tools for this).

If you don’t have the resources to bring a consultant or new employee into the fold, consider broadening your own experiences and references.

Every few weeks I make a point of picking up a magazine from a different industry or reading a book on how a company achieved success in different field.

Next time you’re in Chapters grab a copy of Astronomy magazine along with your Business Week and let me know what astronomical new ideas you come up with.


2 Responses to “Why matching your co-worker may be more than just a fashion sin”

  1. Marion July 12, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    “Next time your in chapters…”

    Your? chapters with a lowercase “c”?? Ouch!


  2. Amanda Waye July 12, 2009 at 2:17 pm #

    Nice catch, I’m sure Chapters brand management will thank you kindly for such dutiful monitoring of the Chapters identity!

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