Will That Be One Hump or Two?
Jason Zweig (aka WSJ’s Intelligent Investor) had a great article in the weekend Wall Street Journal. After giving examples of bad group decision making (as they say on Law & Order, ‘ripped from the headlines’) he concludes that the ‘wisdom of crowds’ is an illusion, that it depends on the competency of the group.
I’d like to add here that what he’s talking about is entirely measurable.
Ineffective groups (aka committees) start out designing a horse and give you a camel. Let’s just refer to that as being two humps off. (This measure, of course, assumes they have designed a bactrian rather than a dromedary.) You can quantify that in pounds of weight the horse would find burdensome, or the extra expense of feeding the resultant lumpy-backed horse or the lessened productivity caused by the extra weight.
It’s all entrely preventable if you select members of the group for their teaming characteristics and leave off those who are either rigid or diffuse. It also helps to have Role diversity to avoid the tendency to jump in with agreement too early.
Moral of the story: If you always see things my way, you probably aren’t needed on my team.