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  • simpsonfornapier

Group think

Group think is empowered by other people’s apathy and strengthened by its own momentum. The more the ‘in crowd’ convince themselves that they are right, the less they want to hear from others like employed managers or consultants who are experts in their field and thus power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. When I say others in this context, I include members of committees or working parties that are not in the ‘in crowd’ or as easily influenced or corruptible as others.

"You never really learn much from hearing yourself talk."

George Clooney

How many of you have been involved with a sports club that had historically functioned well, had great social membership, wins at competition, is achieving its goals and objectives, has a well-articulated strategy for new facilities and is going from strength to strength?

But then a small ‘cohesive’ click forms in the committee and others say they can’t be bothered, and they opt off the committee and sooner or later the committee is full of ‘friends’ ‘drinking and dinner buddies’ and the club loses focus, the committee convinces themselves they are the best, they are doing everything so well, they don’t need to listen to other committee members and what do general club members know anyway! But they do have fabulous self-serving ideas to keep themselves on the committee, saying yes to requests by adding items to the budget but fail to remove things that would allow income to balance with expenses. Eventually membership dwindles, new clubrooms get put on hold, are taken out and put back into long term planning, the committee has another lunch on the club and blames everyone else especially the club’s manager.

That’s just mythical writing because surely that’s not anything like how a council function? If they did though, you could probably anticipate the Chair or Mayor make statements like, there’s nothing to see here, or the Council is united, or we are a cohesive team and there’s no need for change, or decisions are unanimous, but let’s not be fooled because we take an interest and we’re not apathic.

So how do we ensure that we don’t fall into group think, we (that's the collective we or you) shake ourselves off and get up out of our apathetic couch, find and encourage people who we think are capable independent thinkers, nominate and vote them onto council.

I have successfully worked with a wide range of individuals and organisations, some projects involved eighty plus organisations all needing to be on the same page and delivering their component to achieve outcomes. That scale of activity simply doesn't work without good clear communication and feedback loops to resolve differing views and prevention of scope creep.

If I were Mayor, I would be hosting regular 'safe' meetings of all councillors where they would be encouraged to express their thoughts and collectively and openly resolve concerns. Additionally I would ensure annual external review of Governance and ensure any findings are shared with all Councillors and any recommendations are examined, discussed and implemented.

I'll say it as I see it, your view may differ and that is ok, so lets be respectful throughout this process.

So lets be nice about it.

Regards and best wishes

Nigel Simpson , Candidate for Mayor Napier City Council Elections 2022

This blog is approved by Nigel Simpson, Napier New Zealand - website -

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