Google’s Quest To Build The Perfect Team

We can all dream about building our dream team but most of us settle for something more realistic.  

Others become obsessed with building the perfect team.

Google are data masters. The firm above nearly all others values the quantifiable. Over the decades Google has dug, mined, gleaned and collated data on nearly every aspect of their existence. It will therefore come as no surprise that the firm believes it has identified what makes a great team great.

the perfect team

To create the perfect team algorithm Google spent two years studying, dissecting and interviewing over 180 of its best teams. What they discovered was not what you might think.

Imagine your perfect team. It might have a top flight manager, a PHD and an engineer. You'd want thinkers and doers and a natural leader to run it like clockwork.

But you'd be wrong...

Google put its 180 teams under an electron microscope. They conducted over 200 interviews and analysed over 250 team attributes, but at first the numbers didn't add up. They thought they knew what made a perfect team, but as Julia Rozovsky, Google's People Analytics Manager, said. “We were dead wrong.”

Google however, being Google, refused to sit on the information they had gathered. They put it back in the box, left it for a while and opened it up with fresh eyes.

Upon closer inspection and from another angle, the firm was able to identify 5 key traits which had allowed their top team to excel over the others.

And this is what they found. Google's highest performing team had a unique set of skills and the company was able to break them down into 5 distinct characteristics.

1. Dependability

Google's highest performing team were able to get things done because they were each able to depend on the others.

2. Structure and clarity

Google's dream team had a clear vision and obvious goals. They were able to visualise the task ahead and understand it.

3. Meaning

In Google's A-team there is a clear sense that each member and the team as a whole are out to make a difference. Everyone is in it together and the shared motivation is purpose. Too often we assume the motivation for success is commercial and this was demonstrated by Google's findings. Google's A-team didn't care about their dollar bill result, they just wanted to know that it made a difference. A fact further referenced in the next characteristic.

4. Impact

Google's stand-out team shared many attributes but among those that stood out themselves was the team's desire to selflessly work toward the greater good. They were sincere in their bid to make the world a better place and keen to achieve that very goal.

But, it was the fifth characteristic which was the curve-ball.

5. Psychological Safety

Too often in business and in our working lives we feel pressured to say the right thing and fear ridicule or rejection for speaking freely and openly.  Google's dream team had torn down this cruel structure and actively encouraged its members to speak their minds.  The resulting atmosphere was invigorating and a place where attrition, rebellion and desertion were things of the past.  After all why would anyone leave a utopia where your voice mattered no matter what you had to say.

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About the Author

ALAN is CEO of CD as well as a qualified executive coach and a seasoned business mentor. He challenges progressive business people to step-up & realise their vision.

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