7 years ago, Google set out to find what makes the ‘perfect’ team — and what they found shocked other researchers – CNBC

7 years ago, Google set out to find what makes the ‘perfect’ team — and what they found shocked other researchers – CNBC

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Put five, eight, 12 or more people together in a room, and it's a crapshoot as to how well they'll function as a team. The larger the group, the more difficult it becomes. It's a lot like dining out with a bunch of friends. Where to go? Italian? Vegetarian? Steakhouse? Each person has their own appetite, which can make creating a "shared-interest" extremely challenging. Shared-interest is the lifeblood of teams, and only the most successful companies know how to foster it. But how? That's exactly what Google wanted to learn in 2012, when it embarked on a quest to discover how to build the "perfect team." The experiment, led by Abeer Dubey, a manager in Google's People Analytics division, was called "Project Aristotle." After years of analyzing data and interviews from more than 180 teams across the company, Google found that the kinds of people (a.k.a. the individual personalities) in a team are not so relevant. "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, " Dubey said in an interview with ....


These expectations must be challenging yet attainable. Meaning: Everyone has a sense of purpose in their work (i.e., financial security, supporting family, helping the team succeed, etc.). Impact: Everyone sees that the result of their work actually contributes to the organization's overall goals. While that may be true to some extent, a large number of scientific studies have caused researchers (outside of Google's lab) to shockingly disagree. They claim the exact opposite — that personality, and not just skill, is indeed a significant factor in what makes a team successful. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of business psychology at Columbia University and author of the book "Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (and How to Fix It), and Dave Winsborough, head of Hogan X, a team and leadership research lab, argues that personality, in particular, affects the role of an individual within a team. How well do they interact with the rest of the team? Do their values and core beliefs align with the team? "Too often, organizations focus merely on the functional role and hope that good team performance somehow follows, " Chamorro-Premuzic and Winsborough co-wrote in a Harvard Business Review article. "This is why even ....

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