3 Useful Resources for Teams

EQ Durban, EQ South Africa
Written by: Avril Kidd
We hear a lot of talk around teams and what makes some teams more successful than others. Do your teams have what it takes to be successful? Use these research-based key points to improve the success and effectiveness of your teams.

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime. [BABE RUTH]

We hear a lot of talk around teams and what makes some teams more successful than others. Have you heard about the research project done by Google, code-named Project Aristotle? It was named as attribute to Aristotle’s quote, “…the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Google researchers believed employees can do more working together than alone. Their goal was to establish “what makes a team effective at Google”.

Their first clarification was the definition of a team versus a work group which they distinguished in terms of interdependence.

Work groups have low interdependence. They are based on organizational or managerial hierarchy and may only meet periodically to hear and share information.

Teams are highly interdependent as they plan work, solve problems, make decisions, and review progress in order to complete a specific project. Team members need one another to get work done.

Google focused on groups that had strong interdependent working relationships. The teams studied in Project Aristotle ranged from 3 to 50 individuals (with a median of nine members). They studied 180 different teams across engineering and sales and 35 statistical models to arrive at their results. They expected to find a particular theme or ‘recipe’ of team mix of specific talents and attributes. However, what they found after years of intensive research was that what really mattered was less about who is on the team, and more about how the team worked together.

Their key findings in order of importance were:

Psychological safety
Team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other. “If I make a mistake on our team, it is not held against me.”

Team members get things done on time and meet Google’s high standard of excellence. “When my teammates say they’ll do something, they follow through with it.”

Structure and clarity
Team members have a clear understanding of their role, plans and goals. “Our team has an effective decision-making process.”

Finding a sense of purpose in either the work itself or the output is important for team effectiveness. The work is personally important to team members. “The work I do for our team is meaningful to me.”

Team members think their work matters and creates change. They believe that their work is making a difference and is contributing to the organization’s goals. “I understand how our team’s work contributes to the organization’s goals.”

Based on these findings, we cannot ignore the importance of the emotional side of business. When people believe that what they do matters, that their work has meaning, they can trust and depend on their colleagues and they feel safe – they will perform better.

Do your teams have what it takes to be successful?
Are there opportunities to improve the success and effectiveness of your teams by looking at the key points mentioned above?




1. Vital Signs Tool Set
If you want to measure the drivers of effectiveness in your business, you may be interested in our Vital Signs Tool Set. We offer Organisational, Team and Leadership Vital Signs assessments to accurately assess and measure these pulse points of Motivation, Teamwork, Execution, Trust and Change as well as training workshops and coaching to develop these.

2. Team Effectiveness Discussion Guide
Rework.withGoogle.com has produced a Team Effectiveness Discussion Guide, focused on 5 team dynamics Google found to be important for team effectiveness. It can help teams identify where they might want to improve and elicit ideas on how to do that. You can read and download the guide here.

3. The Power of Purpose: Hour Power Session
This is a 60-90 minute mini-workshop for employees, team leaders, supervisors, managers and business owners. Employees who understand their organization’s purpose, as well as their own role within that organization are more engaged and motivated.

During the session you’ll …

  • gain an understanding of how to use a basic framework to establish purpose.
  • create more meaning through clarifying organizational purpose.
    understand your own purpose.
  • find out how to establish Core values.
  • discover how to be more energized, motivated and focused.

Contact me for more info or to book a session for your team.

The overriding conclusion of Google’s research was that success came from the interaction between the team members.

How are your team members interacting and what part do you play in this?