Do Groups Correct Individual Mistakes? – No, But They Can – (Insight from Wiser by Sunstein and Hastie)

So, this is the world we live in. We have to develop skills; refine skills; develop new skills. We have to know more than ever before. And no matter how much we know today, we have to know even more tomorrow. Much more.

And we have to be self-starters. We have to take initiative.

Oh, and we have to be good at working with people. Collaborating across departments, across the company, across the world.

And, in whatever work groups we find ourselves in, we have to be able to acknowledge, respect, and draw from the other members of the work group. And we have to bring our own insights, discoveries, and ideas to the group. A full participant, but never arrogant; always a team player.


WiserI’m just starting my reading of Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink To Make Groups Smarter by Cass Sunstein (coauthor of Nudge) and Reid Hastie. It’s pretty obvious that we’ve had more than our share of groups not smart enough.

I teach college students. I divide them into groups, for group work, and ultimately a group project. You can almost predict the future career path just by the way each person interacts. Do they have an A Game? Do they bring their A Game into the Group? Do they value the others, not look down on others, but at times, help bring others out of their reluctant shells.

So, all of this is what rolled off my keyboard after reading this to-the-point paragraph from Wiser:

Do groups usually correct individual mistakes? Our simple answer is that they do not. Far too often, groups actually amplify those mistakes.

In other words, groups can help make people “better,” or – the opposite, groups can actually drag people down.

Better is better!

“This book seeks to explain how groups can correct individual mistakes.” I’m looking forward to learning how.


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