Kill Groupthink with One Question

It’s as simple as it sounds, but it may not be easy. Depending on your team culture and your own attitudes, this question may feel risky or it may be quite natural. Either way, it will foster openness and improve decisions.

Here’s the question: “Was that an Expensive Sentence?”

Better still, “Did I just say an Expensive Sentence?”


When a leader asks that question and invites others to do the same, it prompts the team to question assumptions and conventional wisdom. It acknowledges (and thereby defangs) bias, and it opens the door to a conversation based on data and priorities.

Using the “Postcards”

Over the last year I’ve handed out hundreds of cards featuring the most common Expensive Sentences on one side, and corresponding tips on the flip side to lead to a better decision process. (Sort of like a decoder ring.) CEOs and team leaders distribute three or four cards to people on their team, and they make an invitation, sort of like this:

“If I say one of these in the meeting, or something that sounds sort of like it… would you just ask me ‘was that an Expensive Sentence?’. I want to make sure we don’t make a decision just because it sounds right.”

The result is a meeting in which:

  1. People are wary of accepting clichés and proverbs that may not apply, and more importantly,
  2. The team has an open, collaborative discussion.

Free Anti-Groupthink Kit

For a short time, I am offering a bonus for anyone who pre-orders a copy of Expensive Sentences (which you can do here on Amazon today). Email your receipt to along with your mailing address and I will send you at no extra charge:

  • Five Expensive Sentences postcards, along with
  • My #1 Bestseller How Smart Companies Save Money (hardcover).

Free book, free cards, free shipping!

The best part is the new book Expensive Sentences, which alone is well worth the full price (check out the early reviews!). But I’m doing this because I want to encourage pre-orders, and ultimately because I want to help teams make better decisions.

This offer lasts for purchases made before Christmas only… don’t delay! (I can’t promise that the book & cards will arrive before Christmas, but if that is important to you let me know and we’ll figure something out.)