As with many modern clever quotes, there is more than one author claiming this. Symptoms of potentially ‘all fools in the same room’:
- Most people think the same, agree on anything. There is a name for this: Groupthink. Invasion of Cuba/missile crisis (Bay Pigs), NASA space shuttle, Swissair collapse and a few wars
- A minority looks like a majority. All the fools are in the other side, the one that does not see it. That is actually very easy. A vocal minority can easily play the role of indisputable majority. All you need is :
- To craft narratives of the type: ‘the country feels’, ‘the country wishes’, ‘the company wants’, ‘all employees would agree that’ ( and ‘the country has decided’)
- To consume as much airtime as possible so that there is no space for alternatives
- To plainly distort he reality, declare a tragedy, declare yourself as Saviour. From Saviours, libera nos Domine.
The numbers game is an old game.
In the organization, there are a few safeguards that can be put in place. Zero cost.
- Never accept less than 3 options
- Always explain the options you have discarded
- Test assumptions with aliens (anybody not in your close team(s))
- Make the point to ask different constituencies all the time
- Bring more women to a ‘council of men’ and more men to ‘a council of women’
- Obsessively hire/bring to the team people with different views (‘if you have two people who think the same, fire one of them’)
Always remember when confronted with ‘ a majority of’: sometimes it just means that all the fools are on that side of things.