The perfect team project, codenamed “Project Aristotle,” in honour of the Greek philosopher, who said “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” Google researchers looked at a range of quantitative and qualitative data over several years to determine the most important elements that make an effective team within Google.
Google’s researchers relied on four criteria to measure team effectiveness:
• Executive evaluation of the team
• Team leader evaluation of the team
• Team member evaluation of the team
• Sales performance against quarterly quota
The results are five items
- Psychological Safety – team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of others
- Dependability – Team members get things done onetime and meet Google’s high bar for excellence
- Structure and Clarity – team members have clear roles, plans and goals
- Meaning – work is personally important to team members
- Impact – team members think their work matters and creates change
By far the most important element for success was psychological safety.
Psychological safety: Psychological safety refers to an individual’s perception of the consequences of taking an interpersonal risk or a belief that a team is safe for risk taking in the face of being seen as ignorant, incompetent, negative, or disruptive. In a team with high psychological safety, teammates feel safe to take risks around their team members. They feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea.