For how many years, Google has spent millions of dollars on measuring
nearly every aspect of its employees’ lives – from which personality traits the best managers share to even how often some people share meals together. The company was determined to find out how to come up with ‘the perfect team.’
They knew that building dynamic teams meant bringing together the best people. But it wasn’t that simple.
So, in 2012, Google ran a project known as Project Aristotle
. It took several years and included interviews with hundreds of employees
. They analyzed data about the people on more than 100 active teams at the company.
“We looked at 180 teams from all over the company. 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.’’
– Abeer Dubey
, a manager in Google’s People Analytics division
Google’s intense data collection led to the same conclusions that good managers have always known: In the best teams, members show sensitivity, and most importantly, listen to one another.
Matt Sakaguchi, a midlevel manager at Google, was keen to put Project Aristotle’s findings into practice. He took his team off-site to open up about his cancer diagnosis. Although initially silent, his colleagues then began sharing their own personal stories.
At the heart of Sakaguchi’s strategy, and Google’s findings is the concept of “psychological safety
” – a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.
Google now describes psychological safety as the most important factor in building a successful team.
Google ended up highlighting what leaders in the business world have known for a while: the best teams are mindful that all members should contribute to the conversation equally
, and respect one another’s emotions
. It has less to do with who is in a team, and more with how the members interact with one another.
🍺 to a great week ahead!