Don’t let groupthink hold you back

Women on Boards

Women on Boards insight into managing diverse decision making in online board meetings.

"Understanding the psychology behind how and why different people can come to a consensus is fundamental if leaders hope to improve decision-making and make the right choices for their business."

Decisions are currently being made on Zoom. Anytime we change media, it’s going to take a more proactive approach to make sure the decision-making process is productive, cautions Dr Colin Fisher, Associate Professor at University College London School of Management. Standards might slip, as Zoom participants worry about their hair, now they can see themselves on camera, or board members juggle having a discussion while making sure others haven’t frozen or accidentally muted their mic.

"The current environment for most boards is completely new, which means you now need to think carefully about exactly what data you’ll require to tackle a problem," says Fiona Hathorn, chief executive of Women on Boards UK. "So, to avoid groupthink, I believe it is often best to start with an information map to encourage your problem-solving mindset to enable teams to see different perspectives as opposed to simply hearing the loudest voice."

She says boards are learning how to use Zoom’s white-board features and understand the need to allow all participants to take turns at speaking, something boards without a good chair may find it difficult to do. As COVID-19 continues to change the way we work, boards have an opportunity to revamp their decision-making process and banish groupthink once and for all.

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