Category Archives: General Counsel

Protecting Against Groupthink: 17 Techniques

Groupthink is a phenomenon that acts as a barrier to good governance. It is a form of self censorship that causes a failure of critical thinking when the desire for group consensus overrides ones ability or desire to critique / challenge a position, present alternatives or express an unpopular opinion. It is often in play when groups reach consensus without critically examining an issue; there is an illusion of agreement or consensus: “it appears as everyone agrees, so let’s move on.”

It occurs when there is a high level of group cohesion or a strong persuasive leader who articulates his or her opinion, especially when the opinion is expressed early in the discussion. It also occurs when groups are isolated from contrary opinions.

Board meetings are perfect breeding grounds for groupthink.

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10 Tips For Board Meeting Breakouts

Break out sessions can be highly beneficial at board meetings as a technique to increase board member engagement and reduce the likelihood of groupthink. They also introduce a different dynamic into the typical board meeting, which can increase the value perception held by board members, enhance relationship building and develop a team spirit. Depending on the issue at hand, all groups can be asked to work on the identical problem or each group can be asked to focus on a different aspect of the issue.

As you consider the use of breakouts, keep in mind...

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Board Diversity in Homogeneous Industry

Although not-for-profit boards are more diverse, on average, than for-profit boards, achieving optimal board diversity is especially challenging for associations that represent industries that are lacking diversity in the upper executive ranks. However, even in situations where the bulk of industry leaders are white males, there are steps that can be taken to formulate a diverse board.

Ultimately, the goal is to achieve diversity of thought; diversity of thought is achieved by intentionally recruiting people with varied backgrounds to a board that embodies inclusivity.

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Enthusiastically Driving Long Term Success

Someone recently asked me what the key was to my long-term success at the association where I spent nearly two decades as the chief executive officer. After all, the average tenure of an association executive is 9.7 years, according to the American Society of Association Executives.

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