Group think or Group Discovery (part two)

Think about a time you changed your "mind" or beliefs about something, anything.

Prior to the change, were you pretty sure you were "right" about the idea or belief?

What was the process you went through to make the change?

Did the change happen fast? Or, was it a chipping away of resistances that allowed you to see the new insight?

If you had to sequence the events, what order would you put the change process in? Is it even possible to put them in an order?

Did you have to come to the end of "something"–maybe yourself? Did you go on a "search" for something even though you didn’t know where that new thing was? Did you feel lost? Did you find credible "voices" who made the change easier to navigate? Did you eventually take a leap into the new space without much idea of what was awaiting you? Did the leap, and the entire process, lead to  "aha moments" where new insights allowed you to let go of old ways of thinking and patterns of behaving?

How am I doing at describing the transition you made?

As we think about what it takes for an organization to move out of group-think, a helpful beginning point is to consider how we make personal change. The dynamics of personal change are not that different from the dynamics of organizational change. Of course, organizational change requires a lot of people to make individual changes that lead to collective shifts in the psyche, culture and behavior of the whole group or team. In this way, organizational change is more complicated, but essentially it requires the organization travel a similar path as that described above in my questions.

A related and very important question concerning group-think is this:

How much can a person influence a group, trapped in group-think, to change their ways?

The trouble with trying to be the change agent in a culture of group-think is that the culture will view your attempts at change, even with the best of intentions, as a disloyal attack on the essence of their "way of life or work." You become the enemy in a hurry.

What to do?

Stay tuned…



  1. Mike July 31, 2007 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Are you familiar with Glasser’s Choice Theory? I’ve spent the last few years working with a group that uses his work as the basis for their coaching practice.

  2. dave August 1, 2007 at 7:33 am - Reply


    Yes, I’m somewhat familiar with reality therapy as a counseling model. Glasser believes that all real help we can give people has to come from grounding them in the present and helping them take responsibility for their own actions. How do you see the coaching practice using the theory?

  3. Mike August 1, 2007 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    We’ll have to get together and talk about this … Mostly it’s about self assessment, understanding what’s in the gap between where we are and where we want to be. We use it as the basis for conflict management strategies and techniques as well.


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