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Despite its title, this article is not just for those interested in building the perfect team. This is an article for anyone who works with people (and who doesn’t?)

It’s the story of how one’s woman’s quest – to understand why her experiences with two different college study groups “turned out so different’’ – dovetailed with one company’s search to “figure out why some [teams] stumbled while others soared.”  The woman is Julia Rozovsky, the company is Google, and the search – code-named Project Aristotle – spawned Google’s mantra on team effectiveness.

The article reads like a good story and is chock-full of interesting and entertaining anecdotes.  Yet, the research it discusses and the messages it delivers about the functioning of teams are vital.

Here are a few examples:

  • ‘‘We had lots of data,” said Abeer Dubey, head of Project Aristotle, “but there was nothing showing that a mix of specific personality types or skills or backgrounds made any difference. The ‘who’ part of the equation didn’t seem to matter.”
  • “The researchers [from Carnegie Mellon, M.I.T. and Union College whose work was studied by Google] concluded that what distinguished the ‘good’ teams from the dysfunctional groups was how teammates treated one another. The right norms (group traditions, behavioral standards and unwritten rules), could raise a group’s collective intelligence, whereas the wrong norms could hobble a team, even if, individually, all the members were exceptionally bright.”
  • “Google’s data indicated that psychological safety, more than anything else, was critical to making a team work.” (Psychological safety was first defined by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson in 1999, as a ‘shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.’)

You should read the article.  It’s a fast and fun and delivers an important message about how people work best together and what kind of work environment helps them do it.

Contact us and we can help you build and foster a work place where teams can do their best and most productive work.