Star Power: Avoiding Groupthink

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The 2007 housing market collapse and the recent Presidential election - where industry “experts” were found to be drastically wrong, are two recent examples of groupthink.

By Greg Star

Malcolm Gladwell once said, “I try to change my mind every day.”

That quote always stuck with me. Why do you think he does that?

It’s because a necessary aspect of innovation is to avoid groupthink. Great entrepreneurs, companies, thinkers and investors are able to stay ahead of the curve by not succumbing to this phenomenon.

Over the past few years the buildup of groupthink has become even more prevalent. Two recent examples are the 2007 housing market collapse and the presidential election – where industry “experts” were found to be drastically wrong, while those who correctly predicted these events are in an incredibly advantageous position.

Here are some common ways to spot if you are falling into this trap of groupthink.

  1. You think the other side is stupid – If you are ever in an argument or debate where you think their position is so idiotic it does not make any sense, then that is more of a reflection of you not fully grasping their argument. People are not dumb, and the minute you start thinking that a large group of them are, you should see a red flag.
  1. You are the smartest person in the room – Stop and reflect on who you are consistently interacting with. If your assumptions are not being challenged by your trusted inner circle, then complacency sinks in. From there, you begin to slowly creep into a bubble that inhibits innovative thinking.
  1. You are overly confident – A large ego goes hand in hand with developing groupthink tendencies. If you get to the point where you are no longer actively trying to listen or learn from others with a different perspective, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

Bringing it all together:

Take Malcolm Gladwell’s advice and try to change your mind every day. By forcing yourself to re-think your assumptions constantly, you avoid falling into the groupthink trap.

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greg starGreg Star is a Founding Partner of Carvertise, a Delaware-based advertising company that places ads on private commuters’ vehicles. Think of Uber meets advertising. Greg has been named Delaware’s Young Entrepreneur of the year by the SBA and is an active member of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. Greg can be reached at Star@carvertise.com, or for more information about Carvertise, like our Facebook page!

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Top photo credit: Max Goldberg Trump (12/8) via photopin (license)

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