Guy W. Wallace’s PACT Facilitation Guidelines: # 11 – Beware of Group Think

Guy W. Wallace’s PACT Facilitation Guidelines: # 11- Beware of Group Think

I call these “The 12 Rules and Guidelines of Proactive/Confrontational Facilitation for the PACT Processes for T&D.”

They are:

1. Go Slow to Go Fast. 2. Be Declarative. 3. Write Stuff and Post It. 4. Be Redundant by Design. 5. Use the Four Key Communications Behavior Types. 6. Review and Preview. 7. Write It Down and Then Discuss It. 8. Use Humor. 9. Control the Process and the Participants. 10. Be Legible on the Flip Chart. 11. Beware of Group-Think. 12. Assign Parking Lot Valets.

The 11th of these is covered in more detail in the following text.

I encourage you to: Read them. Think about how you’ll use them. Practice with them. Adapat them to your style and the needs of the process and the needs of the group.

11. Beware of Group-Think
Group-think is a danger. It is usually caused by one or more variables.

• A single dominant participant who intimidates everyone else, such as a high-level manager to whom most everyone else in the room reports

• Multiple dominant participants who are aligned

• A docile, lazy group easily dominated and that doesn’t want to work too hard

• A group of timid participants, unsure of themselves, and afraid of going against the grain of the stronger personalities

The key cause could be poor selection of the group members for the meeting. This is sometimes avoidable and sometimes is not.

It is more likely that group-think is caused by a facilitator who has lost control of the process and has let someone else facilitate from the other side of the U-shaped tables. Bad. Bad. Bad.

When I feel that group-think is happening, I stop the process and confront the group. I ask them to go over their last inputs and give me their personal rationale for their decisions.

I tell them (being declarative of course) of my concern and ask them to speak for themselves.

Then I back up and go over the last inputs very slowly, and reconfirm their responses and their rationale.

If that doesn’t stop it, maybe nothing will, unless we change the entire nature of the group process. It may be avoided initially by making sure that the folks chosen for the group effort are strong enough to not fall into the group-think trap.


In the near future we’ll cover the remaining rule/guideline and then a summary of all 12!

And how these are especially used throughout the PACT Processes by the PACT Practitioner in facilitating/conducting the many group meetings that can occur in PACT.

I hope these are of some benefit to you in your facilitated processes for ISD or for any “ends” that you desire/need!


– Sourced and edited/embellished from Appendices C of: “lean-ISD” – a book by Guy W. Wallace – published in 1999 and made available as a free 404 page PDF in 2007 at

Book cover design by the late Geary A. Rummler.

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3 comments on “Guy W. Wallace’s PACT Facilitation Guidelines: # 11 – Beware of Group Think

  1. Pingback: L&D: My Facilitation Guidelines From the 1990s Revisited | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  2. Pingback: Guy W. Wallace’s PACT Facilitation Guidelines: Series Wrap Up & Close | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  3. Pingback: Facilitation in the Practice of Project Planning & Management « EPPIC – Pursuing Performance

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