According to Irving Janis, decision making groups are not necessarily doomed to groupthink. He also claims that there are several ways to prevent it. Janis devised seven ways of preventing groupthink (209-15):Leaders should assign each member the role of “critical evaluator”. This allows each member to freely air objections and doubts. Higher-ups should not express an opinion when assigning a task to a group.
The organization should set up several independent groups, working on the same problem. All effective alternatives should be examined. Each member should discuss the group's ideas with trusted people outside of the group. The group should invite outside experts into meetings. Group members should be allowed to discuss with and question the outside experts. At least one group member should be assigned the role of Devil's advocate. This should be a different person for each meeting.
By following these guidelines, groupthink can be avoided. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, John F. Kennedy sought to avoid groupthink during the Cuban Missile
Crisis. During meetings, he invited outside experts to share their viewpoints, and allowed group members to question them carefully. He also encouraged group members to discuss possible solutions with trusted members within their separate departments, and he even divided the group up into various sub-groups, in order to partially break the group cohesion. JFK was deliberately absent from the meetings, so as to avoid pressing his own opinion. Ultimately, the Cuban missile crisis was resolved peacefully, thanks in part to these measures.
If only those in religious circles could or would be so inclined.