The dangers of groupthink

C2 Editorial Team
The Hydra, below, illustrates a pitfall that puts your company at risk: groupthink. Picture the Hydra’s heads as a group of people and ask yourself, do diverse people around a table equal diversity of thought?

With insight that still resonates, at C2 Montréal 2018 Carolyn Lawrence (Gender Diversity & Inclusion leader at Deloitte Canada) said it doesn’t – for the simple reason that what actually leads to diversity of thought are thinking styles.

Our style of thinking is based on what works best for us. As a result, we tend to use only one or two different approaches.

According to Deloitte, there are 6 approaches to solving complex problems:

1. People-oriented
2. Evidence-oriented
3. Process-oriented
4. Risk-oriented
5. Outcomes-oriented
6. Options-oriented

In reality, no one is equally good at all six, hence the need for complementary team members. So how can leaders make this insight practical and not neglect demographic diversity?

Deloitte’s research reveals that high-performing teams are both cognitively and demographically diverse. By cognitive diversity, we mean a range of educational and functional experiences, as well as diversity in the mental frameworks that people use to solve problems. Leveraging the power of diversity of thought is a means to avoid groupthink.

Deloitte’s researchers also found that, ultimately, the way you treat people is most important. Inclusive leadership is about fairness, authenticity and valuing individuals so they can be motivated to do their best work.


WATCH We need more diversity to solve complex problems,” featuring Professor Scott Page from the University of Michigan, who inspired Deloitte’s method.


Questions or comments? Drop us a line at