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Your Meetings Are Killing Employees' Best Ideas. It Isn't Your Fault. Here's How to Fix

  • Author:chinatopwin
  • Source:chinatopwin
  • Release on:2018-05-04

All of this is great for having harmonious meetings that seem highly efficient, but it's
not so great for finding innovative solutions to problems or recognizing new threats 
or opportunities. Fortunately, although you can't eliminate shared information bias, 
there are things you can do to lessen its effects and increase the chances that 
employees will share more of the good ideas and relevant information they have. 
For your next team meeting, follow these simple rules:

Have people bring notes.
Make sure each team member arrives at the meeting with a list of a few important 
points he or she plans to share. That way, if shared information bias causes them 
to forget or dismiss whatever they planned to say, they can refer to their notes and 
be reminded that they consider these points important.

Specifically ask for dissenting opinions.

As a group consensus emerges, pause the proceedings and say something like 
this: "It sounds like a lot of us agree. But right now, I would like to hear from anyone
who has a different view." If team members have other viewpoints but have 
hesitated to voice them, this invitation may bring those other viewpoints forward.

Go around the table.
You can follow up your request for dissenting opinions by going around the room 
and asking each team member to say what he or she thinks. I learned the power 
of this approach years ago when I taught a class and made it a practice to ask 
each class participant in turn to speak. One man who was somewhat shy and 
would never have volunteered to say anything consistently offered some of the 
most insightful comments of the whole group. If you're not hearing from every 
person at a team meeting, you are likely missing valuable information.

If you're the leader, speak last.

The leader or leaders of the team should make sure to gather everyone else's 
input before offering their own. In most groups, members are highly attuned to 
leaders' opinions and are especially eager to go along with them. If you speak up 
too early--even making it clear that yours is just one view and you want to hear 
others--team members will tend to look for ways to agree with what you've said 
rather than take the conversation in a different direction with insights or opinions 
of their own. By keeping your thoughts to yourself at least through the early part 
of the meeting, you'll give them a chance to shine. And you'll gain the benefit of 
hearing their best ideas.