b'| LEADERSHIP GUIDEexample, 15 minutes.75% think its inappropriate to readadvertisers into groups of four and gave each A meeting to inform the conveningtexts or emails during meetings an issue to solve. He then had them brain-executive. The executive should listenstorm a second, similar issue independently. and ask questions. He or she shouldKEEP THE GUEST LIST AS SMALL ASNinety-six percent of participants produced sum up but not make a presentation. POSSIBLE more ideas when they worked on their own, Supporting this concept, AmericanThe 10-person rule at Google, as mentionedoften at a higher quality.Express vice president Christopher Frankin Kristin Gills book Think Like Google,In another group of experiments, psy-recommends a constraint on the way youis based on a fast-moving, startup cul- chologist Solomon Asch found that group think about meetings. At the start of everyture where work time is precious for eachdynamics lead participants to conform to meeting, ask yourself: employee. The leaner the invite list, theothers suggestions even when theyre wrong. What exactly are we meeting about?more time it leaves for the uninvited to forgeNinety-five percent of participants answered Everyone at the meeting gets to answer theahead with other work. every question in Aschs simple vision test question. They can only use five words orMany other companies report that meet- correctlyuntil he planted actors to confi-fewer in their answer. ings with less people tend to get more com- dently give incorrect answers. Nearly 75 per-This will show you if everyone is on thepleted. Parkinsons law of triviality explorescent of people went along with at least one same page or not and if your meeting topican explanation for this. This concept, prof- of the groups incorrect answers. In a sum-is focused enough. Are the answers incon- fered by British naval historian C. Northcotemary of this now-famous study, psychology sistent or too long? Refocus the meeting andParkinson in 1957, states that people inexpert Kendra Cherry noted that confor-try again. groups tend to give disproportionate weightmity tends to increase with group size. She to pointless discussions. This was based onalso says that:NO LAPTOPS/NO CELL PHONES a committee that came together to deliber- When people view the others in the A study by Pam Mueller and Danielate on proposed designs for a nuclear powergroup as more powerful, influential, or Oppenheimer looked at the note-takingplant, but instead spent the majority of timeknowledgeable than themselves, they are habits of college students from Princetondiscussing trivial but easy-to-grasp issues likemore likely to go along with the group.and UCLA. Students watched a 15-min- what materials to use for the staff bikeshed.Conformity also increases when the ute TED talk video, taking notes along theAn atomic reactor is too complicated fortask becomes more difficult. In the face way. Researchers compared those who tookthe average person to discuss intelligently;of uncertainty, people turn to others notes by hand and those who took notes ona shed is not. Unless the committee con- for information about how to respond.a laptop and found that while the factualsists of a small group of nuclear scientists,Conformity tends to decrease when recall of knowledge was similar, the concep- the conversation is destined to stray andpeople are able to respond privately or tual recall had a clear winner. Those whobecome not productive. if they have support from at least one took notes by hand did significantly betterThis has been termed bikeshedding, andother individual in a group.on understanding concepts. it happens all the time in meetings. WhenMeetings are an important and essen-Cell phones should be put away to min- no one wants to admit they dont under- tial part of building a team and achiev-imize distractions. It is easy to lose focusstand why theyre in the room, theyll ending objectives. Follow the above tips to during a meeting when you have numerousup talking about other things. This leads theensure your next meeting is productive and texts, emails, and calls coming through. Inconversation in another direction and oftensuccessful.nfact, President Obamas White House was inresults in an overall ineffective meeting.favor of not allowing cell phones into meet- The concept of as few as possible peo- REFERENCES ings. Attendees of cabinet meetings wereple in a meeting also applies to situations1.Forsyth, Donelson R (2009). Group asked to write their name on sticky notes,when an important group decision must beDynamics (5 ed.). Cengage Learning. p. place them on their phones, and depositmade. According to research, too much data317. ISBN 978-0-495-59952-4.their phones in a basket. from too many people can be disabling. This2. Poul-Henning Kamp (2 October 1999). Of interest to note, The Marshall Schoolindicates that group brainstorming sessionsThe Bikeshed email. phk.freebsd.dk.of Business conducted a survey of over 500and committee-based decisions is in direct3. Dunnette, M. D., Campbell, J., & Jaastad, professionals and found that cell phonecontradiction to scientific evidence that twoK. (1963). The effect of group participa-use is almost always frowned upon by yourheads are often worse than one. tion on brainstorming effectiveness for coworkers: One of the first modern psychology2 industrial samples. Journal of Applied 86% think its inappropriate to answerexperiments to test the effects of groupPsychology, 47(1), 30-37.phone calls during meetings dynamics took place at the University of4.https://www.verywellmind.com/84% think its inappropriate to writeMinnesota. Psychology professor Marvinthe-asch-conformity-experi-texts or emails during meetings Dunnette divided 48 research scientists andments-2794996www.elitecme.com |2020| LEADERSHIP GUIDE 23'