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The More the Merrier?


the intricacies of group behavior are expectedly com plex. Particularly in the business world, work- ing together on teams or in groups can be a way of maximizing the best qualities of its members to make it more than the sum of its parts. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. In their book, “Wiser: Getting Beyond Group- think to Make Groups Smarter,” Cass R. Sunstein and Reid Hastie explore in impressive depth why groups fail and how to improve collaborative ef- forts to avoid common pitfalls. Dividing the book into two section—the first for problems, “How Groups Fail,” the second for solutions, “How Groups Succeed”—the authors thoroughly exam- ine the myriad problems inherent when people work with one another. For example, one problem that may arise in groups


is so-called “self-silencing.” In such a situation, when dealing with social incentives, an individual with dis- senting or challenging information may remain silent rather than avoid the risk of social punishment, like a visibly annoyed boss. (T e authors even include an example of the Kennedy White House leading up to the Bay of Pigs invasion.) Later in the book, a solution is proposed. Rather

than control the direction or message of a meeting, a leader or expert can remain silent to show a willing- ness to hear uniquely held opinions or information. Removing hierarchical or social pressures will foster greater and more honest debate. It’s not advice that’s necessarily mind-blowing, but the lessons in this book are more practical than fl ashy. Far from the fl uff that can be found in both self-

improvement and business strategy genres, “Wiser” reads more like an academic paper than something you breeze through on your lunch hour. T is observa- tion is not meant to discourage its reading. Rather, the density of the material shows what can be gained from mining it. For metalcasters both large and small, “Wiser” is

not advocating for some radical reorganization of your operation. Instead, this book aims to streamline and refi ne approaches to intra- and inter-offi ce collabora- tion so you can maximize results of every individual, whether in a group or on one’s own.

42 | MODERN CASTING April 2015

“When minority voices are heard, well-functioning

groups are likely to be jolted out of their routines. … When dissent and

diversity are present and levels of participation are high, groups are likely to do better.

Metalcasters’ Translation: Working in groups can be an incredibly valuable tool for

a metalcasting operation, as long as the environment en- courages participation from all members. If weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings seem like reruns, attempt to change the dialogue to improve collaboration.

onsidering the countless variables involved in one person’s decision-making—why did you go with the chicken sandwich for lunch?—


Relevance to Metalcasters Technical Diffi culty Self-Help Fluff Profi t Booster

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