Groupthink, plans sink…

Wow well that was a week an a half. There is so much I could write about but I have decided to start this week’s post discussing football, or more specifically the failed attempt to form a breakaway European Super League. Everyone, their dog and their dog’s favourite rubber chicken waded into this debate, including the Prime Minister (who personally I feel has bigger things to worry about). For those of you that missed it 12 European Teams, including the self-anointed Premier League ‘Big Six, tried to create a new midweek elite continental competition. No-one was happy about it and it led to protests, crisis meetings, media vilification and after just 48 hours an embarrassing u-turn by the Premier League teams involved.

One of the primary reasons for the failing of this project was the fact that a group of like minded individuals with similar ideas, visions and plans came together to discuss the future. They sought no external input and were arrogant enough to believe that everyone else would just fall into line. The fact that they had not only avoided testing their thinking with supporters but also with their own coaching and playing staff is mind boggling. Sound familiar? So many organisations suffer from this insular challenge without diversity of thought in key decision making roles and a steadfast refusal to listen to other perspectives and viewpoints. So next time you are in a meeting, or being involved in making decisions ask yourself who is impacted by this choice but isn’t in the room? What viewpoints or perspectives are missing from this conversation…

Groupthink is a significant problem for inclusion ambitions. It is also the root cause for many systemic and institutional issues preventing equity or equality. We know there is a challenge with demographic diversity and diversity of thought in major institutions, top companies and key decision making positions across society.

This week we remembered Stephen Lawrence and his family who are still fighting for justice. We thought of George Floyd and his family that will have gained some small comfort from the Chauvin verdict and we wait to see if this landmark judgement has a ripple effect on the US Judicial system. Football feels like a trivial entry point to this week’s post given the gravity of what has happened this week but my main point was first penned by someone else. Reflecting on the European Super League debacle, former West Ham & England footballer Carlton Cole tweeted this:

The fallout from the Super League announcement was a direct challenge against groupthink. There are lots of other areas where groupthink is holding us back from social justice and equity. I couldn’t agree with Carlton more and I long for a time when we can be united in challenging issues of inequality, discrimination and hate with a similar level of vim and vigour… #I’mNotTired

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