Eliminate Anchoring Bias and Groupthink: New Feature- Hide Comments and Files

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This month we unveil a new feature, the ability to hide tile comments and files from participants in a Decision Space. Switching between ‘show’ and ‘hide’ mid-activity changes the participants view accordingly, and in real time enabling deeper and more focused discussion of the results.

Minimize Anchoring Bias and Groupthink

Preventing participants from seeing each others comments and documents before they provide their own thoughts, eliminates anchoring bias and groupthink.

Anchoring Bias: When groups rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the “anchor”). The anchor can alter individual’s original thoughts, decreasing diversity of input.

Groupthink: Psychologist Irving Janis coined the term groupthink and defined it as: "A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action".

Hiding comments and tiles enables more honest feedback, free from the groups influence and also builds deeper critical thinking skills.

Strategic Applications of this Feature in facilitating Better Decisions

  1. Audit and Compliance: Stakeholders can provide their “rationale” in rating how compliant their department or process is with a set of standards. They can also be asked to provide evidence of their adoption of the standard by attaching documents. Participants will not see each other’s input but later, if reviewed as a team, the group could be enabled to view the complete set of responses.
     
  2. Human Resources: Team evaluations or individual performance reviews are another great example where the comments from team members should be hidden until reviewed with the employee. 
     
  3. Change Management Baselines: Strategic execution needs repeated baselines of both a qualitative and quantitative nature to demonstrate progress towards goals. Hiding stakeholders’ comments dramatically reduces Groupthink but later, when revealed to the organization, provide rich stories and anecdotal evidence of the progress being made.
     
  4. Selection of Vendors, Requirements or Strategic Alternatives: Diversity of thought and critical thinking skills are the fuel for selecting which alternatives a leadership team should strongly consider. Prior to any real time meeting set for discussing alternatives, each stakeholder provides their hidden multi-criteria evaluation of the options providing their comments as rationale. Once in the meeting the results are revealed and the resulting conversation is far deeper and more focused.

For more on Groupthink: Decisive History Volume 1: Challenger Explosion and Groupthink