One of the downfalls I see in boardrooms is what Daniel Goldman calls “unanimous illusion.” Goldman defines this as a behavior that, once a group adopts a belief, individual members are likely to believe it is true.
All the more reason for directors to ask questions during board meetings on a broad range of topics of critical importance to their oversight role. This questioning can drive explicit conversations.
It takes courage to unveil painful truths. The board that balances a sense of unity with an openness to all relevant information can help to avoid group think. Remember – the collective mind is as vulnerable to self-deceit as the individual mind.
Questions directors might ask when reviewing their decision making process:
- Do we have an individual assigned to play the Devil’s Advocate?
- To what degree do we ask probing questions from a place of insight?
- Are we following a leader on the board with a very impressive background AND whose experience matches the decision at hand?
What questions would you add to this list?