CommunicationBuilding the Perfect Team

Building the Perfect Team

Context: In 2012, Google embarked on an initiative (code-named Project Aristotle) to study hundreds of company’s teams, focused on building the perfect team. The company’s top executives long believed that building the best teams meant combining the best people. No matter how researchers arranged the data, though, it was almost impossible to find patterns.

We had lots of data, but there was nothing showing that a mix of specific personality types or skills or backgrounds made any difference.

Main Idea: After looking at over a hundred groups for more than a year, Project Aristotle researchers concluded that understanding and influencing group norms were the keys to improving Google’s teams. Researchers noticed two behaviors that all the good teams generally shared. First, on the good teams, members spoke in roughly the same proportion, a phenomenon the researchers referred to as ‘‘equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking.’’ Second, the good teams all had high ‘‘average social sensitivity’’ —  they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues.

Action Item: Build a psychological safety climate in your team, where people are encouraged and feel safe to speak up and be themselves. In the best teams, members listen to one another and show sensitivity to feelings and needs.

Read the full article here: It was written by Charles Duhigg, author of the Power of Habit.

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