Group decision making is both an art and science that involves a seemingly endless number of influencing factors. Many of these factors are listed below and our extensive, current-day understanding of each is thanks to many brilliant minds that have made advancing the evidence-based body of knowledge in these regards their life’s work.
The Powernoodle platform and corresponding Facilitator training was purpose-built to make such information and best practices readily accessible to business users - often without them even realizing it. By mitigating many of the barriers to organizational decision quality (ODQ), Powernoodle clients experience a more effective and efficient decision making process and a quality decision every time.
Decide Confidently. Outperform. Repeat.
Anchoring refers to relying too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the “anchor”).
A psychological phenomenon (cognitive bias) whereby a person’s behaviors are driven primarily by a tendency to conform to those of a large group of others rather than by their own values, preferences, judgment, and intellect. Bandwagons can grow quickly as the more popular an idea becomes, the more people tend to rally behind it; often regardless of its actual merits.Related: Groupthink, HiPPO Principle, MyTime, OurTime
Behavioral psychology is concerned with understanding why humans and animals behave the way they do. This is studied through observation and examining stimulus-response patterns in our actions and behaviors.
A bias is a tendency, preconceived notion, or prejudice toward or against someone or something. Biases may be favorable or unfavorable, and can be conscious (i.e., deliberate) or unconscious (i.e., involuntary).
An alternative to highly problematic ‘brainstorming’, brainwriting supports increased productivity, creativity, and quality by advocating for individuals to write their ideas on their own before getting together as a group to discuss.[Source]Related: Groupthink, HiPPO Principle, MyTime, OurTime
Chronotypes are used to categorize individuals based on characteristics of their biological clocks. The common distinction between chronotypes is "early birds" versus "night owls", however in reality, chronotypes are more sophisticated and complex than this, with most people falling somewhere between the two polar extremes. [Source]Related: Chronobiology
Arguably one of the most important forms of diversity in most business contexts, cognitive diversity relates to having different perspectives (based on experience, personality type, etc.), different styles of information processing, and different approaches to situations involving uncertainty and complexity properly represented within decision-making processes. Within an environment that also encourages candor, cognitive diversity can result in dramatically increased levels of creativity and innovation while simultaneously reducing groupthink and blind spots that often result in overlooking both key risks and high-value opportunities.Related: Diversity, Groupthink, Personality Type, Red Teaming, MyTime, OurTime
Cognitive psychology is the scientific study of the mind as an information processor, and examines how we acquire, process, and store information. It is concerned with mental functions including learning, perception, memory, language, thinking, problem solving, and decision making.
A framework for better decisions that allows organizations to maximize value and minimize risk. Rooted in more than 300 years of decision theory, Decision Quality (DQ) is achieved by ensuring quality in six essential decision elements. [Source]Related: Organizational Decision Quality (ODQ)
A decision record provides an objective, comprehensive, and immutable record of the inputs, activities, and actions associated with any given decision. An effective and readily-available decision record is a key underpinning of organizational learning and continuous improvement in relation to organizational decision quality (ODQ).Related: Organizational Decision Quality, Power of the Pen
Somewhat of an umbrella term that refers to a number of areas of study and their corresponding bodies of knowledge. Depending on the context, this may include; Decision Analysis, Cognitive, Behavioral, and Social Psychology, Behavioral Economics, Organizational Behavior, Risk Analysis, and Game Theory alongside elements of Neuroscience and various approaches to modeling and optimization.Related: Behavioral Psychology, Cognitive Psychology
The inclusion of different types of people and perspectives within a group. Diversity can take many forms including demographic, ethnographic, Psychographic, and cognitive diversity. Diversity has been shown to improve areas such an innovation and problem-solving and diversity within decision making teams can have a similarly positive impact on decision quality.Related: Chronotypes, Cognitive Diversity, Personality Type, Red Teaming, 7 Ways Diversity Can Improve Your Decision-Making (blog post), Not-Invented-Here (NIH) bias
An unhealthy tendency to provide more time, attention, or credence to the input of those who speak loudest, first, or most; independent of the actual merits of the message. In doing so, organizations often lose out 50% (or more) of all potential insights that could have been obtained by providing an environment where all temperaments get equal ‘airtime’ and due consideration.Related: Brainwriting, MyTime, OurTime
Originally coined by psychologist Irving L Janis, the term groupthink refers to a theory which contends that groups tend toward uniformity and censorship in their thinking, resulting in systematic errors in collective decision making. In the decades since its introduction, it has been widely accepted as one of many (social) biases commonly exhibited among groups; particularly in cases where team members are somewhat disconnected from subject matter experts, they are relatively cohesive, have low levels of diversity, and tend to have a top-down, autocratic, or hierarchical leadership structure. [Source]Related: Brainwriting, Bandwagon Effect, Cognitive Diversity, HiPPO Principle, MyTime, OurTime
An acronym for the “Highest Paid Person’s Opinion”, this principle can refer to a specific person, a leadership style, or even a general organizational culture. HiPPOs often dominate discussion and decisions which can stifle innovation, omit much-needed dialog, and often result in widespread disengagement from others; side-effects that often goes unnoticed. Despite their toxic nature, psychology professor Richard Nisbett reminds us that “There’s no question that most business continue to operate on the Hippo principle” [Source]Related: Groupthink, Bandwagon effect, That's Not My Idea syndrome, MyTime, OurTime
Encouraging or assigning activities that are best suited to be undertaken individually (incl. ideation, commenting, voting, rating, and prioritization) to be completed in a time, place, and manner that allows each person to contribute to their full potential based on their preferences and availability. In doing so, many biases and dysfunctional behaviors can be minimized.Related: Asynchronous, Bandwagon effect, Blended Engagement, Brain Writing, Cognitive Diversity, Groupthink, HiPPO principle, OurTime, Personality Type
Leveraging the power of synchronous group collaboration to improve the quality of a collective deliverable; making the sum greater than the parts. OurTime type activities take place after individuals have had the opportunity to complete related, precursor type tasks on their own time (MyTime).Related: Bandwagon effect, Blended Engagement, Brain Writing, Cognitive Diversity, Groupthink, HiPPO principle, MyTime, Personality Type, Synchronous
Overconfidence is the tendency people have to be more confident in their own abilities (including knowledge, intuitive reasoning, judgements, and/or cognitive abilities) than is objectively reasonable.
The psychological classification of individuals based on preferences, behaviors, functions, attitudes, and the like. The Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is perhaps the most widely-used and recognized assessment but there are others such as the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. (Assessment tools such as Workplace Personality Inventory and Plum are used primarily to work styles along with role and culture fit.) The ability to effectively recognize and manage personality types can have a significant impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of all decision-making processes.Related: Diversity, MyTime, OurTime
The power inherently bestowed upon the person responsible for organizing, making sense of, and recording information captured from a group collaboration session, process or activity. Relying on traditional, manual methods such as sticky notes, flip charts, verbal, and whiteboard content is extremely inefficient, and often results in transposition errors and biased interpretations that impact how group input is interpreted, recorded, and communicated. (In contrast, modern-day approaches used by skilled decision facilitators inherently provide organizations with the due confidence, trust, and quality in their decision-making through the integrity of a comprehensive and automatically-generated decision record.)Related: Bias, Decision Record
The premortem, developed by Gary Klein, is a method used to anticipate project failures before they actually occur. It is conceptually similar to a medical postmortem, however this technique involves imagining that the future project has already failed and identifying all the possible causes for this failure. [Source]
The phenomenon whereby the quality, integrity or validity of a rater or appraiser’s input is diminished as a result of being tasked with rating commitments that exceed their expected time required, actual time available, or level of interest. May apply to all forms of judgment including evaluation (ie. voting, rating, prioritizing).
Also known as Judgmental Fatigue and Survey Fatigue.
Red TeamingThe deliberate use of a group of contrarian thinkers who are specifically charged with challenging conventional wisdom. With roots in elite military units worldwide, and now in use by leading organizations such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Toyota, red teaming is both an art and science that challenges plans and the assumptions underlying those plans.[Source] Red teaming can be an extremely effective tool in combating groupthink and the status quo bias.
You know who is invited to participate in a decision process, but all ideas, comments, and evaluations are truly anonymous (even to the facilitator). By providing a safe environment where everyone can feel comfortable participating, Powernoodle enables creativity, diversity, and candor to develop high quality solutions.
Stakeholder Intelligence is the tacit knowledge needed to synthesize, evaluate, and make decisions. It draws on experience, know-how, instinct, values etc- it is the knowledge inside your people's heads.
Roenneberg, T. (2012) Internal Time. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press
Spetzler, C., Winter, H., & Meyer, J. (2016). Decision Quality: Value creation from better business decisions. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Janis, I., L. (1982) Groupthink, 2nd ed.. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 7-9
Hoffman, B. G. (2017). Red Teaming: How Your Business Can Conquer the Competition by Challenging Everything. New York, NY: Penguin Random House LLC
O’Sullivan, Owen P. (2015). The neural basis of always looking on the bright side. Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences, 8(1):11–15.
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 1, Issue 4, 1 October 1991, Pages 437–460, https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.jpart.a037102
Rogers, P., Berg, G., Boettcher, J., Howard, C., Justice, L. & Schenk, K. (2009). Encyclopedia of Distance Learning. Hershey: Information Science Reference
Kung-Ming, T., Khoon-Seng, S. (2009). Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Interaction. IGI Global
Klein, G. (2007). Performing a project premortem. Harvard Business Review.
Morris, M.H., Kuratko, D.F., Covin, J.G. (2011). Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning, p. 315.