Appoint a “Tenth Man” or Devil’s Advocate to Make Better Decisions

Too often in meetings, emphasis is placed on coming to a decision that causes the least amount of friction amongst the team. However, when the focus is only on group consensus, teams lose sight of the problem they originally set out to solve.

By bringing in a “tenth man” or Devil’s Advocate, teams can be steered back towards your goals, and address potential problems in their plans.

In your next group discussion, appoint one person as the “tenth man” to take the contrarian view in order to avoid groupthink.

If you’re a World War Z fan, you may be familiar with the Israeli policy where, “When nine people agree on something, it’s the tenth man’s responsibility to disagree no matter how improbable the idea.” It’s based on the real practices of Israel’s intelligence agency, which features a “devil’s advocate” office as well as “different opinion” memos.

A word of warning: when misused, playing devil’s advocate will only entrench the group further into their existing beliefs. Refrain from cynicism, jokes, or insulting the original idea, and instead focus on genuine concerns with the current plan and explain the thought process leading to that conclusion.

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Appoint a “Tenth Man” or Devil’s Advocate to Make Better Decisions
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