For those unfamiliar, Project Aristotle was a recent research initiative launched by Google with the purpose of understanding why certain working groups flourish and others do not quite make the grade.
Leading the endeavor, was Google’s Director of People Analytics (HR), Abeer Dubey, who was quite motivated to discern the exact blend of backgrounds, traits, and skills exclusive to the most successful working teams. Dubey began by enlisting sociologists, organizational psychologists, researchers, engineers, and statisticians to find the missing pieces to this puzzle.
In two years’ time, and with the help of Google’s own People Analytics Manager, Julia Rozovsky, Project Aristotle had conducted upward of 200 interviews, examined 180 Google teams, including over 250 unique team traits. Yet unfortunately, no patterns which could directly lead to a winning team-building formula were discovered.
However, what was revealed were “group norms” or standards for behaviors and actions, and accepted mores that quietly rule how teams operate when they gather. Apparently, it is these taciturn decrees which seem to have the most profound impact.
In a recently published article for Inc.com; human capital specialist, talent manager, and employee advocate; Michael Schneider, reported on Rozovsky’s findings which were finally revealed via Google’s Re:Work website. Surprisingly, the characteristics exclusive to a successful working team may be simpler than originally presumed:
Reliability — Members of a thriving team are dependable and work to the expectations of their leaders.
Clear and structured goals – With unmistakable objectives and well-delineated roles, groups find it easier to perform on a higher level.
Significance – Members of the group must be able to find a sense of personal meaning and significance within their work.
Influence – A successful working group should be able to recognize the positive impact their work has on a larger scale.
Psychological Security – High-performing teams are most likely part of a supportive company culture that embraces opinions, questions, and sensible risk-taking; as well as one that provides a zone where employees feel safe to let their guard down.
One could arguably find noticeably vast differences among even the most high-functioning and successful working teams. Yet, while no two teams are identical, the basics listed above are more than likely at the core of their endurance.
Further reading: The Truth About Corporate Team-Building Events
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