The Stepladder Technique

The Stepladder Technique
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Avoiding the Groupthink Trap with the Stepladder Technique

The stepladder technique encourages each team member to give their personal opinion on a matter, before anyone can be influenced by the rest of the group. This prevents groupthink and encourages authenticity and honesty in your team members’ answers.

This technique is a step-by-step approach that guarantees equal participation. It’s important that even the shyest and quietest group members have the opportunity to present their ideas.

This helps to make sure all group members are heard, so no potential idea is left out. The intention is to have all possible solutions on the table and discuss these without any bias.

This method helps in creating a broader range of ideas and protects people who are less eager to voice their own opinion against other, more active members of the group.

Avoiding the pitfall of groupthink is another reason why the stepladder method is useful. Groupthink is caused by group dynamics and occurs when groups reach a consensus opinion or decision without thinking critically, or testing and challenging their ideas.

There are a few steps required for this approach
  1. Before meeting as a group, present the task to your team. Make sure to give enough time to everyone to think about their opinion or decision on how to best accomplish the task at hand.
  2. Create a core group of two members and have them discuss the task or issue.
  3. Add a third group member to the core group. This third member presents ideas to the first two members before they hear the ideas that have already been spoken about. After all three members have laid out their solutions and ideas, they discuss their options collectively.
  4. Repeat the same process by adding a fourth member, fifth, sixth and so on, to the group. Make sure that there’s enough time for discussion after each added member has presented their views.
  5. Make a final decision after everyone has been brought in and shared their ideas.
See also  Fishbone Diagram

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