Marianne Stanke explained False Consensus as the fourth failure in Strategic Thinking at her session at WE11. This can take a lot of forms – Group Think, Selective Recall, Biased Evaluation to name a few. I think pride and ego can also factor in here. Nobody wants to be the (first) one that says they can’t do what is being asked of them or that they doubt the direction.
The way false consensus has often bit me is not realizing that people aren’t engaged enough to express agreement or dissension. In other words, don’t let silence lull you into thinking you have consensus. I must also admit that I’m guilty of being a silent dissenter sometimes. I can blame a number of things, disillusionment, exhaustion, pessimism, self-doubt – all of which are negative things that bring the team down. My challenge to myself is to speak up. Who knows who is out there but afraid to be the first person to say something. That way I have no regrets later and I might just spark a good discussion that identifies alternatives and improves the odds of success. Or not, but at least I tried.