When a HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) is in play during staff meetings, it is doubtful that your enterprise is relying on data to inform decision-making. In fact, the HiPPO effect will be killing debate in your team meetings. Is your business making decisions based on what the HiPPO wants done? Yellow Belt I am sure you have been in a meeting where the boss starts the meeting saying “ I think we need to do such and such to improve profits”. Immediately, everyone else in the room is thinking “what is the cost if I speak out against doing what the boss just said we should be doing”. If you have a fairly robust team, some brave individuals will speak out. But, the majority will probably wait to see what happens to these hardy (or foolish) individuals and take their guidance from that. In any case, the effect of the boss declaring a preferred action at the very start is likely to stifle debate. The boss can run the risk of believing they are always the one in the room with the best idea. Hey, they have a track record of success, why would that change? This adds to the highest paid person’s confidence and sense of superiority. But it means you don’t get the benefit of all the other minds in the meeting. Alas, a vicious cycle begins and it is hard to stop. If the boss has very firm opinions, there is likely to be no debate at all! This is known as the HiPPO effect – the “Highest Paid Person’s Opinion”. The HiPPO will be weighted more than any other voice involved in the decision-making process. Take a moment to think of meetings you have attended and how often the HiPPO effect has happened. Think about how many meetings you chair where you speak first and probably unintentionally stifle the discussion. The HIPPO Effect is fine if you know that you mean to do it. You might be intentionally guiding the discussion where you want it to go. There will be cases where that is appropriate. But there is another suggested approach.