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How to lessen peer pressure, and the general counsel chill, when taking a decision

When leadership groups of law departments convene to decide something, “there is a tendency to seek confirmation of what everyone already knows.” [Open no windows!] There is also a tendency for people to go along with what they perceive to be the evolving consensus – even though they disagree. [Break no glass!] Sometimes referred to as “group think,” the urge to back down and succumb often becomes acute once the general counsel states a view.

An item, Economist, Vol. 378, Jan. 21, 2006 at 16, cited Victoria Medvec at Kellogg business school for two antidotes to peer pressure. Before participants begin to talk, each of them should write down what they think about decisions on the agenda. Second, they should rate the strength of their views on a scale, say, of one to ten. To reach your own conclusions independently and assess how strongly you hold them helps you maintain your position in the face of opposing views.

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