Group Think

In many ways, the exercise in a jury room is designed to mimic how we should function in business.


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I’ve lived in greater Cincinnati for almost over 40 years and never have been called for jury duty. That string ended in May when my summons arrived.
That initial summons provided a one-time exemption with the stipulation that I reschedule in a reasonable amount of time. Well, since I was holding a ticket to Switzerland the court excused me. My reschedule was set for July 9.
I show up and on the first day get assigned to a trial. It was a malpractice suit that lasted for an unusual seven days. It was detailed and tedious.
My take-away from the experience has less to do with the doctors, lawyers, expert witnesses and other courtroom trappings and more with my fellow jurors. We met as strangers, yet by the end of deliberations I think it fair to say we were certainly much closer.
I found the process of deliberation particularly interesting because eight people from different backgrounds and circumstances found a way to come together to get the job we were assigned done. Within the stricture of the law, we reviewed the lawyers’ presentations and weighed the preponderance of evidence to reach a verdict.
There was give and take from each of us because the end result was important and necessary. In this room, we discussed, with civility, where we each were coming from on the various points of determination and in the end reached a unanimous decision.
Was everyone in total agreement? Absolutely not. However we managed to put ourselves somewhat into the background in order to accomplish our civic duty.
In many ways, the exercise in that jury room is designed to mimic how we should function in business. My fellow jurors each made contributions to the outcome of the trial. Each was given a voice and listened to with respect.

According to our presiding judge, this is the strength of the justice system, people working together to make the best decision they can based only on the evidence, without ego or prejudice. Perhaps there is a lesson in here for who might be invited to the next meeting you call. In our group, eight out of eight contributed dispassionately to the strength our collective decision. We did right and we did it together.