What Did Google Learn From Its Quest To Build The Perfect Team?


Whenever more than eight people are inside a room, it is slightly more difficult for them to work together as a team.

It’s a lot similar to eating out with your group of friends. It may be harder to decide whether you want to go Italian, Japanese, or vegetarian because everyone has different appetites, which can be very challenging in aiming towards a shared-interest.

Shared-interest is the lifeblood of teams, and only the most successful companies out there know how to cultivate it. In 2012, Google began an experiment to learn how to establish a perfect team. It was called Project Aristotle.

The key characteristics of ‘enhanced teams’

After carefully analyzing years of data, and conducting separate team interviews from 180 groups across the company, Google found that the individual personalities in the team are irrelevant. Instead, five characteristics were crucial for enhancing teams:

Psychological security: Everybody feels safe to take risks around their teammates, and doing so won’t lead to embarrassment or punishment.

Dependabableness: Everyone presents quality work right on schedule.

Composition and clearness: Everyone is aware of their particular expectations, and those must be challenging yet achievable.

Purpose: Everyone finds a sense of meaning in their job (i.e., supporting family,  financial security, helping the group succeed, and so forth.).

Impact: Everybody sees that the outcome of their work does contribute to the company’s overall objectives.

Researchers don’t all agree

Google may be accurate to some extent, but the scientific data outside of their says otherwise. Some researchers claim that personality and not just skills play a vital role in the success of a team. These researchers observed that the teams who performed the worst were 100% ‘pragmatic’ and had 0% ‘relationship-building’ features.

Left-brained vs. right-brained personalities

Everybody has a dominant side of a brain which affects their personality. Right-brained individuals are usually more intuitive, imaginative, free-spirited, and are capable of collaborating and connecting, making them necessary to a team’s success.

On the other hand, left-brained folks are more rational, logical, and goal-oriented. They love details and facts, and they usually think in words and digits, making them more pragmatic.

Here’s some good news

You don’t need to embody one or the other! To have both pragmatic and robust relationship-building attributes enhances your value in a team. Whether you’re a left-brained or right-brained individual, you can always foster both qualities.

Teams don’t just become successful once you bring people together in one room or connect them through Skype. Once you learn to understand yourself better, you can be the change you want to see, not just for your team but also for the entire company.

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