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  • Writer's pictureNick Turner

"I agree with Nick" ... but should you?

Shamelessly, I always enjoy that little hit of dopamine, when your letter to the editor is published in the Financial Times - thank you FT. I am considering reviving the 2010 UK election catchphrase "I agree with Nick", which always seemed like a good idea to me. That said, here are my musings on the perils of "Groupthink" (with a copy below for those without a subscription to the FT).

"I can agree with Stephen Bush’s analysis of the benefits of groupthink. A decision is usually better than no decision, which in itself is a decision (to do nothing), but rarely the right one (Opinion,, July 5).

Where I cannot agree, is that it is preferable to accept groupthink to align an organisation around a way forward. Excessive groupthink creates “official futures”, a series of assumptions about how the world works and how the future will unfold. Recent years have clearly demonstrated the futility of trying to predict the future.

Business school literature is littered with the names of organisations that failed to do so: Kodak, Blockbuster, Nokia, Lehman Brothers and so the list goes on.

To paraphrase John Maynard Keynes, being roughly right is far superior to being exactly wrong. By all means create alignment and community around a point of view but ensure that perspective is robust, having collectively thought through plausible alternatives and challenged cultural norms and ingrained assumptions. The penalty for not doing so can be fatal."

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