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Avoiding Decision Failures: The NASA Challenger Explosion and Groupthink

When alternatives are overlooked because cohesion is favored over individuality, the results can be tragic and lasting.

The top decision-making team responsible for the Challenger launch was very familiar with each other. They had worked with each for many years prior to the mission.


Group cohesiveness in decision-making can be deceiving. Decisions are often made quickly and with high levels of consensus, but this doesn’t always correlate to the BEST choices. When alternatives are overlooked, because cohesion is favored over individuality, poor decisions can arise.


How can you avoid this?
Remember a quick decision doesn’t always mean a great decision. Carefully examine alternatives by bringing together diverse groups of people with varied backgrounds. It is important that the solution is the priority rather than pleasing, or being an appeasing group member. 

Precursors of Groupthink
1. Cohesive Group
2. Insulation from Experts
3. Leader Preferences


This post also highlights 8 symptoms of groupthink including:

  • Inherent Morality
  • Stereotyped Views of Others
  • Self Censorship
  • Mindguarding 
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Following my last post, this is a  large part of a the risky, and at times the lonely business of challenging "strong leader preferences" that led to a tragic, well known outcome in the USA. ~ D

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Angie Tarasoff's curator insight, March 27, 2014 12:52 PM

This is a tremendous article that discusses decision traps when making decisions in groups.


The precursors and symptoms of groupthink  are polarities - how might you manage the situation when you notice these behaviours occuring?

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Ready to Challenge Caution & Risk? Focus Limits Firms Owned by Women

Ready to Challenge Caution & Risk?  Focus Limits Firms Owned by Women | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

If women start more companies than men, why do so many more of those companies stay small? Caution, lack of the right kind of networks and a focus on income generation rather than wealth generation seem to be key factors.


Excerpts:

...economic conditions don't explain why woman-owned businesses, regardless of location, tend to grow more slowly and plateau sooner than those owned by men, said Jeff Bergeron, managing partner in Ernst & Young's Detroit office. 


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...lack of access to capital is a primary hindrance to many woman-owned businesses.

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...Paula Sorrell, managing director of entrepreneurial services for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., said lack of access to capital is a primary hindrance to many woman-owned businesses.

"Everybody is treated the same when they come to the state for assistance," she said. "Where there is a gap is in private equity funding for woman-owned businesses. Generally, this is because most private equity is run by men." 

However, the gap is starting to be at least partly addressed in Michigan, Sorrell said. 

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

There seems to be a line to be crossed by women-owned firms who want to size up to be successful.  There are layers of lessons here about risk, caution, structure, family and more.

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High-Tech Sector is Losing its Dynamism, Affects Job Creation > Kaufman Report 2014

High-Tech Sector is Losing its Dynamism, Affects Job Creation > Kaufman Report 2014 | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

Surprising news:  New firms account for a smaller share of the tech sector than in previous decades. > HBR Blog & a recent Kaufman report.


____________________________
   
....the pace of job creation has been on a persistent decline. 

     

____________________________

        

America’s high-tech sector has become less dynamic and less entrepreneurial in the last decade via  a recent Kauffman Foundation report writer Ian Hathaway co-authored.


...The high-tech sector is experiencing a consolidation of activity away from young firms into more mature ones, and the pace of job creation has been on a persistent decline. ....high-tech companies have been well-represented among the fastest growing firms in the past few years, the high-tech sector–like the rest of the economy–is less dynamic overall.



____________________________
     
....Business dynamism involves...new and superior ideas replace existing and inferior ones, while more productive firms usurp less productive ones.

   
____________________________
   


...Business dynamism involves measuring ...businesses ...being formed, growing, shrinking, and closing....churning: jobs are created while others are destroyed, and some workers move into new roles as others seek to replace them. New and superior ideas replace existing and inferior ones, while more productive firms usurp less productive ones.


...Entrepreneurs also play an outsized role in new job creation. While older and larger firms account for the substantial majority of employment levels, new and growing young firms drive net new job creation overall.


....Research has firmly established that this process of “creative destruction” fuels productivity growth, making it indispensable to our sustained economic prosperity. ...a more dynamic economy is a key to higher growth.


Read the full blog post here


Photo credit, thenext28days on Flickr, ccc.

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The business dynamism or creative dynamism of which Ian Hathaway speaks seems has a kinship to Anti-Fragile concepts, especially, how  "new and superior ideas replace existing and inferior ones, while more productive firms usurp less productive ones."  ~  D

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Return of the Ford to Investment Grade, 3rd Investor Service Certifies: The Blue Oval is Back.

Return of the Ford to Investment Grade, 3rd Investor Service Certifies: The Blue Oval is Back. | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

"A big milestone for Ford today, after mortgaging nearly all Ford assets and borrowing $23.5 billion from their banks, Moody’s Investor’s Service has lifted the Ford credit rating to investment grade."


The blue oval is back.


Change leaders take risks, sometimes very big ones.  Ford exemplified this by avoiding backruptcy and borrowing from the government.


Excerpts:


In 2006, Ford put it all on the line. We began the Ford turnaround plan by mortgaging nearly all of our assets and borrowed $23.5 billion from our banks – a “giant home improvement loan,” as Ford CEO Alan Mulally likes to call it.


This allowed us to pour that money into research and development so we could make world class cars that people want and value. You’re seeing the results of that success now with the global Fiesta and Focus, the all-new Ford Explorer, the fuel efficient and technologically capable new Ford Escape and the new 2013 Ford Fusion, due out later this year.


Along with our factories and equipment, one of the assets Ford mortgaged was our none other than our iconic logo – the blue oval. The blue oval has long been associated with Ford and as a brand logo, it’s recognized worldwide.


The script in the middle of the oval was taken from the original script created in 1912 and has been part of the Ford heritage for a century. And since Ford returned to profitability beginning in 2009, we have been paying down our debt against that loan.


But because Ford credit had been below investment grade since 2005, the banks would not return those assets to us including the blue oval – until at least three credit rating firms granted Ford investment grade status. Last month, Fitch’s was the second to restore Ford to that level.


Today, we received notice that Moody’s Investor’s Service has lifted the Ford credit rating to investment grade. The blue oval is back.

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