The 5 things you need to make your teams more effective, according to Google

Google

Google, New York, United States (Arthur Osipyan, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Douglas Broom, Senior Writer, Formative Content


What makes a great team? Four years ago, Google announced it had the answer. The tech giant said its research showed personality types were not as important as setting a clear framework to support a team.

Abeer Dubey, who led the research by Google’s People Analytics division told The New York Times: “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.”

On revisiting its findings, Google sparked a new debate about how teams really work. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) disagreed with the Google research, asserting that personality types were still key to building great teams.

Dave Winsborough, head of personality profiler Hogan X and Professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Chief Talent Scientist at staffing firm ManpowerGroup, said in the article that Google was arguing success depended on a team’s collective level of emotional intelligence and good communication.

“Google’s recipe of being nice and joining in makes perfect sense and is hardly counterintuitive,” they said. “Perhaps more surprising, Google’s research implies that the kinds of people in the team are not so relevant.

“While that may be true at Google, a company where people are preselected on the basis of their personality (or “Googliness”), this finding is inconsistent with the wider scientific evidence, which indicates quite clearly that individuals’ personalities play a significant role in determining team performance.”

The authors said in their experience, teams rarely perform at maximum capacity because most of the models devoted to creating high-performing teams focus solely on skills and experience, and ignore the influence of personality.

“Achieving the right mix of skills, experience, and personality is the key to a productive team and contented workforce. Get that mix wrong, by even just one individual, and the results can be disastrous.”

Google’s five dynamics of an effective team:

  • 1. Psychological safety – empowering people to contribute without fear and to own up to mistakes
  • 2. Dependability – members of dependable teams can rely on one another to live up to their responsibilities
  • 3. Structure and clarity – a team that has clear roles, goals and plans
  • 4. Meaning – a sense of purpose in the team’s work or its output is vitally important for team effectiveness
  • 5. Impact – belief that the work makes a difference to an organization’s goals and will bring about change.

Google says the most important of its five dynamics is psychological safety. The research found teams with high scores for psychological safety exceeded sales targets by an average of 17%, while those with low ratings fell short by as much as 19%.

Understanding personalities

There is a plethora of psychological tools out there to help managers understand the traits of their people and combine them for maximum effectiveness.

One of the first was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, developed in the first half of the 20th century by mother and daughter team Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. Based on the ideas of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, they built a tool that defines an individual’s personality traits using four categories.

Like the later Belbin Team Roles, developed by an academic at the UK’s Henley Business School, the idea is that if people have a better understanding of their colleagues’ personalities they will be able to play to their strengths as members of a team.

The role of business leaders

Bernadette Wightman, Managing Director, Global Services, BT Group emphasises the role of business leaders in building strong teams. Speaking at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos this year she said leaders were defined by the quality of their teams.

Leaders must coach and mentor teams and avoid corporate speak if they want to raise engagement. “It’s never the wrong time to build the right team. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to attract the very best people to create a team that’s greater than the sum of its parts,” she said.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Opponents of constitutional change in Burundi face torture and execution: UN investigators

CEOs as activists: should leaders speak up about social causes?

Tech must embrace teamwork to transform the world

‘Forgotten crisis’ in Cameroon, with attacks on the rise, millions in need of ‘lifesaving assistance’

Devastating storms like Hurricane Florence ‘unusual this far north’: UN weather agency

Horn of Africa: UN chief welcomes Djibouti agreement between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia

Commission hardens its stance against carmakers ensuring emissions reductions targets

Court of Auditors: EU spending infested with errors well above the materiality threshold of 2%

DR Congo: Ebola outbreak spreads to eastern ‘no-go’ zone surrounded by rebels

This Mexican company is making biofuel from cactus plants

Top UN officials sound alarm as Yemen fighting nears vital hospital in port city of Hudaydah

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for more efforts to ensure adoption of security proposals

Alice in Colombia

Niger population’s suffering ‘increasing with each passing month’: UN Refugee Agency

Lithuania finds the ways to maintain its energy security

Why the Greeks forgave Tsipras’ pirouettes around austerity and voted again for SYRIZA

WHO study reveals ‘game-changer’ drug with potential to save thousands of women’s lives in childbirth

New York and London mayors call on cities to divest from fossil fuels

Plastic is a global problem. It’s also a global opportunity

Brazil: A strategic partner for the EU

Radioactive nuclear waste is a global threat. These scientists may have a new solution

EU agrees on Ukraine – Georgia visa-free travel amid veto risks and populist fears

Imported and EU fisheries products should be treated equally

Amsterdam is developing a fleet of autonomous boats to reduce city traffic

This house is made entirely out of recycled rubbish

EU job-search aid worth €9.9 million for 1,858 former Air France workers

Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on UK paper on EU citizens in the UK

Catalonia’s vote for independence and the power of symbols

‘Humiliation was the worst’; Holocaust survivor at UN, asks world to act with ‘empathy and compassion’

Chauvinism and xenophobia will lead to global assertiveness and more wars

Do all you can to resolve climate change ‘sticking points’ UN chief urges South-East Asian leaders, in Bali

5 ways students can graduate fully qualified for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

European Semester 2018 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to achieve sustainable, inclusive and long-term growth

COP24: World sports join team UN in race against climate change

Somalia: UN congratulates Puntland region’s newly-elected President

Higher education becoming again a privilege of the wealthy?

‘Hateful attacks’ pushing Sri Lanka backwards, UN advisers warn, urging an end to ‘discriminatory practices’ that feed intolerance

Trump doesn’t only target Germany, aims to crack the entire EU

Sweden’s forests have doubled in size over the last 100 years

UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism

Easing funding woes for UN agency assisting Palestine refugees a ‘wise investment for today and the future’

Air pollution could be responsible for 1 in 7 new cases of diabetes

Fresh airstrikes kill dozens in conflict-ravaged Syria

Chart of the day: This is what violence does to a nation’s GDP

The COP24 Agreement: Yes, it happened at last

EU Parliament: It takes real banks to fight unemployment and recession

Improved access to financial information to curb serious crime

Everybody for himself in G20 and IMF

Mobile World Congress 2015 first to debate EU’s new stance on Net Neutrality and Roaming Charges

Turkey caught in a vicious Syrian circle bringing terror and war at home

Syria: Why did the US now take the Russian offer for a truce? What next?

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

The Sting’s Values

Trump to subject the Fed, challenge the ECB and make Wall St. bankers even richer

Is Europe misjudging its abilities to endure more austerity and unemployment?

CEOs in these countries are more likely to go with their gut

Restoring government control across Central African Republic is ‘key’ to lasting peace, stability – UN envoy

Who will win the AI race? If countries work together, then the answer could be all of us

Summer 2018 Interim Economic Forecast: Resilient Growth amid increased uncertainty

UN chief ‘commends’ leadership of Greece and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as name dispute draws to final close

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s