In our organizations today, we spend significant time conducting and participating in meetings. This isn’t all bad, of course, as good meetings hold the potential for generating new ideas, aligning teams around a common purpose, and moving projects forward.
But when it comes to collaborative meetings, there are some common obstacles that hinder team productivity. The tendency of groupthink, for example. Or assuming that a more experienced colleague has the best idea (or the other way around). Or the respected leader who gives their opinion too soon, affecting the freedom others feel to share their perspective.
Today’s productivity tip is for the leader who’s aware of such tendencies and wants to avoid them.
This comes from Daniel Kahneman’s popular book Thinking Fast and Slow. In a chapter on jumping to conclusions, Kahneman writes:
Before an issue is discussed, all members of the committee should be asked to write a very brief summary of their position. This procedure makes good use of the value of the diversity of knowledge and opinion in the group. The standard practice of open discussion gives too much weight to the opinions of those who speak early and assertively, causing others to line up behind them.
I think this is really wise, even if it wouldn’t make sense in every meeting context.
If you’re responsible for facilitating meetings, try weaving something like this in where you can, especially for strategic planning, creative brainstorming, and other meetings where you need to leverage the gifts of the whole team.
We want the best ideas to win out, not just those that come from the most senior, the most confident, or the most savvy.