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When drinking the company Kool-Aid can lead to too much groupthink

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

You have made it, the point of euphoric workplace bliss. Your values are carved deep, everyone feels a sense of purpose to the vision and mission, your team is working within their zone of strengths and you are profitable. You balance fun with getting shit done and everyone enjoys being a part of the team.

This is the beautiful place where teams who are aligned eventually find themselves. Can you even imagine there is a down-side to this?

As an overly annoying optimist it is hard to believe but when everyone is just so darn happy something strange starts to happen. It happens slowly and then as the happiness continues to grow, it increases a little bit bigger and bigger. You would hardly notice it was there at all because of the euphoria but ...



It's a travesty really. You have worked so hard on building this amazing culture and yet there is a downside to that.

If you aren't familiar with the term groupthink, don't fret, a lot of companies often forget it can exist, especially when fun or euphoria is the goal. But groupthink can become a type of toxicity if you aren't careful.

Wikipedia says "Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome". Which basically means, no one wants to rock the boat and is having so much fun rocking the euphoria, they tend to just agree with one another.

And a great company culture isn't based around everyone just agreeing.

The goal of any great culture is to have diverse ideas and opinions all welcomed around the table, to create safety to speak your voice without fear that you will be judged or penalized for not agreeing with the boss or leader.

So as you are building your amazing team culture, ensure you work on the following things to prevent groupthink from setting in:

1. Before you speak, ask for everyone's opinion around the table (whether they are a decision maker or not)

2. Hold 'what would you do' meetings. Have a problem that needs a solution? Hold a company wide meeting purely for brainstorming ideas

3. Make divergent thinking your go to starting place. If you are dreaming up a new product, or about to roll out a new campaign...start with divergent thinking (which is to throw out any ideas of what is possible or not possible, divergent thinking rolls without the how to's)

At the core of your culture, make your differences celebrated and then armed with those differences rally around your values and vision. You will be sure to build a culture that is loyal, innovative and expressive. Now that is the kool-aid I want to drink.


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