Some answers are not at your fingertips. Like the answer to the question: "What makes a team effective?“ A group at Googles People Operations took the challenge to find out. They interviewed more than 200 Google employees and researched 250 attributes in more than 180 teams at Google. They expected to find the perfect mix for the perfect team – how do the individuals look like that you need to put together for the great success?
What do you think they found out? What would you expect?
With a data based approach and rigorous analyses Google comes up with a clear statement: It is not that important what kind of individuals are on the team. It is far more important how team members interact and structure the work. The key that makes a team successful is if its members feel safe enough to take risks. Google calls that psychological safety: “Individuals on teams with higher psychological safety are less likely to leave Google, they’re more likely to harness the power of diverse ideas from their teammates, they bring in more revenue, and they’re rated as effective twice as often by executives.”
Google found out that psychological safety is the foundation for all the other key dynamics. If you feel safe in a group, you trust your team members, you ask more questions without the fear of asking „stupid questions“ and you are more likely to admit mistakes. You are more engaged to find out what is best and do not spend so much time to manage your reputation.
These are the five key dynamics Google found out:
Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?
Structure & clarity: Are goals, roles and execution plans on our team clear?
Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?
Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?
We at willms.partner can relate to Googles answers from our experience in various team buildings. We hear team members say: „If there is no trust – our work is not productive and results fall short.“; „I am sure that trust is the main thing - but it is uncommon to talk about that.“
How do you imagine your team would talk about trust as the foundation for being a successful team? What could help to increase the trust in your team?
You can check out the Google announcement here (link).