Team Management, How to create the Great Team: Google's Project Aristotle!

To find out the answer to the biggest question, how to create the great team Google started the project Aristotle with all the data they got.

Finding s of the research is pretty interesting.

Project Aristotle’s researchers began by reviewing academic studies looking at how teams worked but No matter how researchers arranged the data, though, it was almost impossible to find patterns ‘‘We looked at 180 teams from all over the company,’’ Dubey said. ‘‘We had lots of data, 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.’’

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. But Rozovsky, now a lead researcher, needed to figure out which norms mattered most,

They noticed two behaviors that all the good teams generally shared.

 First, on the good teams, members spoke in roughly the same proportion, ‘‘equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking.’’ On some teams, everyone spoke during each task; on others, leadership shifted among teammates from assignment to assignment ‘‘As long as everyone got a chance to talk, the team did well,’’ Woolley said. ‘‘But if only one person or a small group spoke all the time, the collective intelligence declined.’’

Second, the good teams all had high ‘‘average social sensitivity’’ — a fancy way of saying they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues. They seemed to know when someone was feeling upset or left out.

Within psychology, researchers sometimes colloquially refer to traits like ‘‘conversational turn-taking’’ and ‘‘average social sensitivity’’ as aspects of what’s known as psychological safety .


Psychological safety is ‘‘a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up,’’ Edmondson wrote in a study published in 1999.

‘‘It describes a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves.’’

Google learned that there are five key norms that make for a successful team:

  •  PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY,

  •  DEPENDABILITY,

  • STRUCTURE AND CLARITY,

  •  MEANING OF WORK,

  •  IMPACT OF WORK

But Google’s data indicated that psychological safety, more than anything else, was critical to making a team work.

They found that the safer team members felt with each other, the better they did in almost every area of work. They were:

·        MORE LIKELY TO OWN UP TO THEIR MISTAKES

·        BETTER PARTNERS TO THEIR COLLEAGUES

·        LESS LIKELY TO LEAVE GOOGLE

·        MORE LIKELY TO BE OPEN TO DIVERSE IDEAS

So how to get people to establish psychologically safe environments??

First to build Trust by

  1.  be a role model ,

  2.  remove the fear,

  3.  stop blaming,

  4.  emphasize,

What Project Aristotle has taught people within Google is that no one wants to put on a ‘‘work face’’ when they get to the office.

‘‘I think, until the off-site, I had separated things in my head into work life and life life,’’ Laurent said ‘‘But the thing is, my work is my life. I spend the majority of my time working. Most of my friends I know through work. If I can’t be open and honest at work, then I’m not really living, am I?’’

No one wants to leave part of their personality and inner life at home. But to be fully present at work, to feel ‘‘psychologically safe,’’ we must know that we can be free enough, sometimes, to share the things that scare us without fear of recriminations. We must be able to talk about what is messy or sad, to have hard conversations with colleagues who are driving us crazy.

We can’t be focused just on efficiency.

Rather, when we start the morning by collaborating with a team of engineers and then send emails to our marketing colleagues and then jump on a conference call, we want to know that those people really hear us.

“ We want to know that work is more than just labor.”

Researchers at MIT and Carnegie Mellon have discovered that similar to individual I.Q., teams have their own collective intelligence. “Collective intelligence is significantly correlated to group composition, and is higher with a higher concentration of females in the group.”

-         social sensitivity

-          the distribution of conversational turn taking

-         the proportion of female group members

Women generally perform better on measures of social sensitivity, which makes women more valuable in the workplace. Long in short hire more women!

Build an environment where teams are comfortable sharing things with each other. As team members feel secure with each other they’ll work better together


You can find more details about Project Aristotle from the article issued by Ney York times

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/magazine/what-google-learned-from-its-quest-to-build-the-perfect-team.html?_r=1

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