What creates a high performing team? One stand-out criterion ​after 3 years of research

What creates a high performing team? One stand-out criterion ​after 3 years of research

Google is a pro-science organisation and so they went out to prove (through robust, evidence-based research) what’s required to makes a group of people a high performing team.

  • A 3-year research called Project Aristotle
  • Analysing 180 teams
  • Comparative analyses from other industries and previous psychological studies
  • Identifying patterns of reliable proof

Research findings and conclusion

“What Project Aristotle has taught people within Google is that no one wants to put on a ‘work face’ when they get to the office. No one wants to leave part of his or her personality and inner life at home.

But to be fully present at work, to feel ‘‘psychologically safe,’’ we must know that we can be free enough, sometimes, to share the things that scare us without fear of recriminations. We must be able to talk about what is messy or sad, to have hard conversations with colleagues who are driving us crazy. We can’t be focused just on efficiency.

When we start the morning by collaborating with a team of engineers and then send emails to our marketing colleagues and then jump on a conference call, we want to know that those people really hear us. We want to know that work is more than just labour”.

What makes a high performing team is the quality of treatment fostered between everyone. Other things contribute but this is at the top. The consideration, kindness, empathy and emotional acknowledgement for each other (clearly present within the communication norms) amongst team members, are the consistent defining features of an outstanding performing team.

This, of course, requires, both courageous and kind leadership. That can role-model, clearly set the tone and attributes for others to follow. Something that is becoming more business critical as the very best talent choose which cultures and leaders to work.

This can pose a big challenge for leaders. They might want to introduce more of these attributes but the culture they are in is going in the opposite direction. ‘Forget how you feel, just do it, accept the change, hit the new target, keep up, there’s always the door’.

Let’s have a coffee or virtual coffee to talk about this more. Drop me a note 🙂


Leave a Reply

Close Menu