Source: What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team
This is an interesting article full of great insights in what makes a ‘team’ successful. Below, I’ve extracted some of the points of the article to help you digest the message quickly. I always recommend reading the article yourself, and these are the points I took away – feel free to comment 🙂
- “What interested the researchers most, however, was that teams that did well on one assignment usually did well on all the others. Conversely, teams that failed at one thing seemed to fail at everything. The researchers eventually concluded that what distinguished the ‘‘good’’ teams from the dysfunctional groups was how teammates treated one another.”
- “…two behaviors that all the good teams generally shared. First, members spoke in roughly the same proportion ….by the end of the day, everyone had spoken roughly the same amount. ‘‘As long as everyone got a chance to talk, the team did well,’’ Woolley said. ‘‘But if only one person or a small group spoke all the time, the collective intelligence declined.’’ Second, the good teams all had high ‘‘average social sensitivity’’ — a fancy way of saying they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues.
- Psychological safety is ‘‘a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up,’’ …. The behaviors that create psychological safety — conversational turn-taking and empathy — are part of the same unwritten rules we often turn to, as individuals, when we need to establish a bond. And those human bonds matter as much at work as anywhere else. In fact, they sometimes matter more.
- Google’s data indicated that psychological safety, more than anything else, was critical to making a team work.
- “No one wants to leave part of their 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.”
I’ve often wondered why some teams/groups seem to be more successful than others in achieving a certain goal or completing a task where the members are still friendly and jovial with each other, rather than resentful or spiteful. I can recall a few instances from my previous job roles where the above information would have been helpful!
I have been fortunate to enjoy a number of podcasts in my helmet as I ride to work each day. My standard Playlist revolves through Tim Ferris, James Altucher, Freakonomics and Good Job Brain.
I have found a lethal combination of interviewer/interviewee and have truly revelled in the banter and discussion that has transpired between them. This is Part 1 of my “You are who you listen to” posts.
I’ve been listening to Tim Ferris for a while now and love how he’s able to perfect his questions, drill down deep into various topics, keeping the content of his podcasts vibrant and ever changing whilst at the same time anchoring the interview with some of his standard questions, interjected throughout the podcast. One of the best interviews to listen to was one of his most recent – his (follow-up) interview with Tony Robbins.
Tim Ferris and Tony Robbins in my helmet whilst riding to/from work each day is not for the faint-hearted. I was grinning and shouting in my helmet (to myself, of course) whilst commuting at a fairly brisk pace, often getting lost in the conversation not realising how fast I may be going at a particular point. The dialogue and mutual respect for each other (which is an important part of any conversation, professional or personal) is a joy to listen to and one from which many people can learn.
By far this is the best Tim Ferriss podcast I have had the listening pleasure to partake in. I want to live my life even half as well as Tim and Tony, and my goal is to follow their teachings whilst carving my own path through life. If I’m half as successful as they are, we’re onto something 🙂
What have I learned?
- Gratitude is everything.
- Self is important as long as it’s to ground you and ensure you’re in a position to be ready to take up the challenges on behalf of of those who cannot. You cannot give yourself when you are not in a position mentally, physically or spiritually. You owe it to yourself to have these in alignment so you can then help others.
- I believe in the Stoic philosophy (although I am not yet up with all the teachings, I certainly believe in the tenets of it). I practice it in everyday life, I see everything as an opportunity to do better and to reach a stage where I, too can teach this to others.
- Tim goes deep in almost everything he tries. Tony goes deep both personally and with those who seek his guidance or counsel. I go deep into things, but not in the same way as Tim or Tony. Depth is good but I need to learn to go just deep enough to achieve the results and not try and find the lower depths, lest I wallow there too long. Life is short and there’s a lot to it to be exploring.
- Learn something new every day – I believe you can learn something from everyone you meet and interact with, as long as you are willing to invest some time to hear their story, listen to their counsel or tap into their ideas.
Until next time, look after yourself and keep focusing on what you can do to become better; be better and share your story!
I first heard of Josh Waitzkin after he was an interview subject on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. I listened to the 2nd ever Tim Ferriss show about 12 months ago and more recently heard the second podcast with Josh.
Today I’m listening to Tim and Sebastian Junger speaking and Josh is mentioned again. Tonight, I decided to listen/watch more about Josh, and came across this interview with him. My highlights are:
- We see teachers who try to fit students into a cookie cutter mould…a teacher knows how to create someone in his own image and try to fit the student into the mould, good for himself and bad for the student
- A student would do much better to have a teacher who was open to bringing out that students natural shine, their natural strengths
- We need to be true to our natural strengths and be aware of our natural talents
- An artist needs to be unobstructed as possible the way the express themselves.
One of the more interesting, endearing moments, however comes just after a question is asked about the movie The Search for Bobby Fischer (the story is about Josh’s chess career) where Josh breaks into laughter about something off-camera, and breaks into smiling and laughter, at a time I felt the conversation was about to get deep and serious.
Other points of note re: learning (specifically related to transitioning from Chess into Tai Chi):
- Be wide open to every last bit of information; hold no ego about being wrong
- You need to want to be moulded
- Changing your perceptual patterns at will (in relation to understanding time moves at different speeds)
As always, the challenge is adopting these principles into our own lives and coming up with a way to embed them in our lives.
Today I heard one of the best, most closest-to-me podcasts that I think I have ever heard. Simon Sinek was a guest on The Ziglar Show (Inspiring True Performance), speaking about how to actually, authentically lead.
Part way through the podcast I began really tuning in and absorbing the content to the detriment of what I was currently doing – akin to getting into a flow state listening to the discussion and the message being shared). I recommend you take a listen to the podcast, and let me know your thoughts on whether this had the same impact on you that it had on me.
Some of the key points I took away:
- Leadership is not a rank or position. Leadership is a decision and a choice. It has nothing to do with your position in the organization. If you look after others, you have become a leader. “We call you a leader because you have the strength and confidence to go first into the danger, first toward the unknown, and we will follow”A great way to explain leadership. I also like to think of it as someone (yes, it can be a subordinate or individual) can take on a leadership role without being asked and without seeking recompense in some way.
- He admitted to ‘cheating’, and only talking about things he cares about and things he understands. There are so many people out there who think they need to be someone they are not in order to build credibility, a fan base, an audience or even to feel ‘popular’. Being true to yourself is a key element to being trustworthy and being authentic!
- If you want a work environment where you feel safe and supported, and you love your work, you must find or create a work community that fosters this.
- Command and control is short term and will not last; those that last are those who are in service to others
- If you are only a spiritual leader; you gotta learn how to function; if you don’t have that capacity yourself, you need to learn how to trust people; If you’re just a functional leader, you need to learn that spiritual stuff or no-one will trust you. It’s about balance, it’s about both functional and spiritual.
I can’t do this podcast justice with my words, but have attempted to share with you what I took away from the podcast. Have a listen and tell me what you took away from this!