Brighton Leadership Group

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How Did Google Create a Perfect Team?

In today’s work world, collaboration or working together is a way of life. In fact, February’s HBR featured an article about Collaborative Overload.  (The most fascinating fact we read in that article was, “20% to 35% of value-added collaborations come from only 3% to 5% of employees.” That’s an intriguing statistic we’ll examine another time!)
Since we work together a lot, wouldn’t it be helpful to know what makes everyone operate at their best?
Google’s Project Aristotle evaluated 180 teams from across their organization.
Apparently, “psychological safety” is a requirement of perfect teams. There were many team behaviors that seemed to contribute positively to the creation of a perfect team but this one environmental factor proved to be THE most critical to making a team work.
Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson defines psychological safety as ‘‘a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up.’’ As human beings there are some basic behaviors we use to create bonds with other people. These behaviors include, taking turns during conversation and empathy. These bonding behaviors create psychological safety.
Project Aristotle may not have uncovered anything new. However, since its research proves that in the best teams, members listen to one another and show sensitivity to feelings and needs, maybe that creates a case for change to how your teams are behaving.
Pay attention to your team’s interaction. To create a truly great team, build psychological safety through bonding behaviors.

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