Groupthink is everyone’s problem.

Groupthink is everyone’s problem.

Man sees other self in mirror

The dust from the surprise result of the Australian Federal election is settling. I think the coalition’s against-all-odds win is a case of voters picking the least-worst option rather than any ringing endorsement. As I have written often, leadership in our institutions and organisations is in crisis. Let’s hope that the lessons of the Banking Royal Commission and the election (not assassination) of a new Prime Minister mark a new and better chapter.

 

WTF?

Focus has turned to the opinion polls. All of them predicted a clear win for the Labor party. As with Brexit and Trump’s 2016 win, every major pole was wrong. Inevitably, there is now much after-the-event wisdom from the same ‘experts’ who – again – failed spectacularly to take the genuine pulse of a nation. ‘Shy tories’, ‘silent majorities’, the ‘death of landlines’ and ‘survey-fatigue’ are all to blame apparently. That inquest will run and run.

 

Gotta get out more

What IS clear, is that we all increasingly live in our own echo chambers. Most of us now consume our information and news online. Those smart algorithms are very good at reinforcing our own biases. It’s easy to see how we can lose perspective and good judgment when we only listen to people like us. This is not a left or right thing. It’s a human thing ……. and it’s dangerous.

 

Curiosity is key

Whether in business, politics or life, it’s important that we stay (or get) curious. That means exploring new ideas and exposing ourselves to points of view that differ from our own. That can be uncomfortable and irritating. It requires effort. It’s also how we grow, learn and adapt – and how we do best at business, at building a better society and at ‘life’. As author F Scott Fitzgerald observed,

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

 

We win and lose together

Whether your side of politics smiled or sobbed on the weekend is unimportant. Unless we put ourselves in a space where we are frequently exposed to a multitude of voices, ideas, experiences and opinions, we all lose.

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