What is the importance of creating an effective team? What is it that makes teams produce great results? Google wanted to answer these questions, along with many others. This is why they conducted a 2-year study to find out what every successful team needs to have.
Many things have changed in the business world over the years. One of the most important changes is in the organisational structure. The pyramid organisational structure used to be the most dominant. There was a small number of people at the top that made all the important decisions, while the lower layers had almost no impact on them.
This approach began losing its appeal due to its many drawbacks. Today, companies take a more collaborative approach towards their organisational structure. This approach allows more people to take part in a company’s strategic and business decisions.
This is what spurred an increasing focus on the importance of teamwork. For a company to be successful, the team needs to be well-assembled and effective. Only then can the team create a synergy that allows a company to achieve success.
Poor team performance can have a variety of negative impacts on a company’s fortunes. Inability to ensure effective teamwork can put a company at risk of major losses. This applies to all companies, from start-ups to established businesses. This is why learning how to build an effective team is crucial to success.
For this reason, Google wanted to perform research on how to build a successful team. They invest heavily in human resources, so it comes as no surprise that they’re always finding new ideas to improve company culture. This desire lead to the creation of a major study called Project Aristotle.
What is Project Aristotle?
Google started Project Aristotle in 2012. The goal of this project was to find the key characteristics of winning teams. 180 Google teams participated in this study to find the answer to this question. Prior to this effort, Google had invested a lot of time and energy into finding a perfect team building formula. These efforts were without any concrete success, despite Google’s outstanding performance.
This is why Abeer Dubey, HR manager at Google, assembled a team of experts to solve this issue. Dubey and his team started looking for effective team building strategies. They wanted to find a way to build a perfect team.
They took many different factors into account. These factors included friendship, gender, education level, personal interests, and many others. Unfortunately, these metrics didn’t provide any valuable insight.
They’d also tried comparing teams based on different metrics. They couldn’t detect any patterns. There was still no explanation why certain teams were more effective than others. Teams with similar structures were showing varying results. It seemed like they hadn’t gotten any closer to figuring out how to build a successful team that would continuously show high performance.
The research team also tried to create a team of superior individuals, based on different metrics. Still, the results showed that collecting talented individuals isn’t enough on its own. It’s the collective work that mattered.
The conclusion that the research team came to is that group norms dictate a team’s performance. These norms are the rules that affect and guide the behaviour of the team. But what are these rules? What are the key characteristics of winning teams?
After two years of extensive research, Google found five main things that influence team performance. If you need effective team building strategies, here are the five things that Google found to be the most important:
Item #1 – Psychological Safety
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re running, taking risks is essential to success. Generally speaking, people are afraid, or at least uncomfortable, when it comes to taking risks. This is why the psychological safety of your team members is of the utmost importance. Your team needs to adopt a positive perception of risks. This includes a couple of different factors.
First of all, each team member needs reassurance that the outcome of the risk they take won’t affect their confidence. This means that other team members won’t ridicule them if they make a mistake. Each member needs to support the actions of others and treat them with respect.
This is one of the key aspects of how to build an effective team. When your team members feel safe about taking risks, they’re more likely to achieve better results. The best way to do this is to come up with ideas to improve company culture, like developing exercises that will help your team overcome its fear of risks.
If you manage to do this, your team members will feel comfortable in any situation. This is an important aspect of achieving success. Let them express their opinions without fear and you get innovative ideas that can boost your company’s performance in return.
Although this might take some time and effort, it’s important that you do it the right way. Ensure that your team members feel safe and comfortable in their work environment. This way you’ll create a climate that has a positive impact on your team.
Item #2 – Clear Structure
Your team will probably consist of people with different personalities. This is a good thing, since diversity is important in teams. Each of them brings something different to the table. What’s important is to create a structure that everyone can follow. This means delegating the right tasks to the right people. It also means making sure that everyone is clear on what their role is.
Failing to do this can negatively affect teamwork. It leads to confusion, which can take away from the time necessary to do the work. Furthermore, it leads to conflicts, which can damage the productivity of your team.
To avoid this, create a clear plan that everyone will understand. After giving them psychological safety, your team members will feel free to ask for further guidance. This way, everyone will know what to do and how to do it. Of course, plans can change, so leave some room for flexibility. This ensures that your team doesn’t face unnecessary pressure.
You’ll have a smooth workflow as a result. This will improve the performance of your team, and consequently, your company.
Item #3 – Dependability and Reliability
Although your team produces results as a whole, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s made up of different individuals. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses that allow them to perform their work in different ways. One of the key characteristics of winning teams is dependability. This means making sure that each team member will give their best to the work they’re doing.
Ensure that your team members are capable of delivering high-quality work. Moreover, they need to meet deadlines without the need for hand-holding. That’s great if you manage to find people that are naturally like this. If not, you can train your team members to be dependable.
Another thing that you need to ensure is that the teammates can rely on one another. If you’re striving for success, it’s not always going to be a smooth ride. You will face a lot of situations where you’ll need reliable people.
In these situations, you need to make sure that your team members can count on each other. They need to be willing to help other members, even if it’s not a part of their job. Once you get your team to adopt this mindset, facing challenges becomes far easier.
This is where culture building strategies for teams come into play. Allow your team members to get to know each other and build trust. This might not be an easy task, and it will take some time, but the result is higher team productivity.
Item #4 – Meaning of Work
The most effective team building strategies include making sure your team members enjoy doing their work. Google found that personal satisfaction at work is one of the main components of great performance. There are many things you can do to ensure that this is the case with your team.
First of all, during the recruitment process, select the candidates that are the most passionate about the job. The other highlights that you may find on their resume might not be as important as this. When people wake up in the morning and enjoy getting out of bed to go to work, they perform a lot better.
Also, try to find the best office culture ideas you can think of. Don’t make your team’s work hours consist of just plain work. Think of activities that you can incorporate into the daily routine to make your team members feel better at work.
When you ensure that your teammates enjoy spending their time at work, you’ll notice improvements in their productivity.
Item #5 – Impact of Work
Nobody wants to feel like they’re just sitting there doing work that won’t have an impact on the company. Show every team member how much their contribution is worth to the company’s success.
If you want to know how to build a successful team, ensure that your team members feel successful. This means finding ways to show them that their time and effort are valuable to your company. Think about the benefits of the work your team members are doing. Everyone contributes in a different way, so make them feel valuable regardless of their position.
When you do this, they will be more motivated, which will raise their performance. Everybody wants to feel like they’re an important part of something, so express your appreciation for the role they’re playing.
The Final Word
Being one of the most valuable and highly regarded companies in the world, Google is a reliable source of advice when it comes to team building. They’ve shown the ability to explain the techniques of building a team that delivers huge success.
Finding and implementing effective team building strategies might not be easy, but the above ideas are worth your effort. Always maintain a positive work climate to ensure the continued success of your company.
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