The Second Blog: A Look Into Abilene Paradox & Conformity

“Decision making should be focused on making the best decision, given the constraints of the situation” -Daniel Levi

What: When being in a team, I believe that letting everyone share their thoughts and opinions with the group, without persecution, is crucial in creating a safe environment for the individuals of the team to thrive. Before learning about Abilene Paradox through the reading and in our class, I had fallen to the paradox several times in previous teams or groups. I wanted to be invested in the team and want my group members approval at all costs, even forfeiting over my true opinion and thoughts just to conform to the group mentality. From learning about the Abilene Paradox, I have come to the realization that it mainly deals with group dynamic and people agreeing with something that they truly do not believe in. Jerry B. Harvey, from On Strategy, a business performance company, shares that the symptoms of the paradox are vast and complex. This made me realize how I have fallen into the Abilene Paradox more times than I had thought.

So What: This idea of falling into the Abilene Paradox is something I want to be aware of for future teams. I understand that cohesiveness is crucial in becoming a successful team and achieving personal goals along with team objectives. This comes into play in our class with RAT quizzes. Abilene Paradox occurred when trying to take the group quiz. There has been several times where I have selected a specific answer on a question and my group differed. I had just gone along and agreed with them on our group answer without fully sharing why I truly believe my choice is correct. Pam Ashby, of the Agile Business Consortium, shares that teams need a safe environment to avoid the Abilene Paradox, along with, active listening and understanding that disagreement is okay in a team setting. Understanding that active listening and how to create a safe space is critical in avoiding the paradox. The aspect of accepting that disagreeing with the majority is okay as long as you approach them in a well co-respectful environment.

Now What: After comprehending the concept of the Abilene Paradox, I believe, for me as an individual, I should strive to share my opinion, even if it differs from the majority. I should want my voice to be heard and to learn from others and their understanding of how they got to their vote or opinion. Micro Hering, a managing director at Agile & DevOps, shares that the key to breaking this cycle of the Abilene Paradox is to speak up. While some might say that I am sharing my opinion too often in the future, I believe that sharing my voice and not just conforming to others opinions is worse. This will help me grow my social skills and gain more confidence as an individual, similar to my last blog. This means that I have learned more about how to achieve one of my goals for this course — becoming more confident in myself and my work, specifically in group settings.

Resources:

Ashby, P. (2018, July 29). 3 Ways to Avoid the Abilene Paradox. Retrieved February 21, 2019, from https://www.agilebusiness.org/blog/3-ways-to-avoid-the-abilene-paradox

Ballowe, T. (n.d.). How to identify groupthink: An introduction to the Abilene Paradox. Retrieved February 21, 2019, from https://onstrategyhq.com/resources/how-to-identify-groupthink-an-introduction-to-the-abilene-paradox/

Hering, M. (2014, August 04). The Abilene Paradox – Can Agreement be dangerous? Retrieved February 21, 2019, from https://notafactoryanymore.com/2014/08/04/the-abilene-paradox-can-agreement-be-dangerous/

Mylittlepursuitsofhappyness. (2017, July 18). Abilene Paradox. Retrieved February 21, 2019, from https://mylittlepursuitsofhappyness.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/abilene-paradox/

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