What Makes the Perfect Team


What makes a team successful?

That was a question that fueled a study by Google’s People Analytics group. In “Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg, the author discusses how the group worked to figure out how to build the perfect team.

They started by finding norms that consistently popped up in teams, and then whittled those down to find the most important ones:

  1. Teams need to believe that their work is important.
  2. Teams need to feel their work is personally meaningful.
  3. Teams need clear goals and defined roles.
  4. Team members need to know they can depend on one another.
  5. Teams need psychological safety.

Duhigg quoted the head of Google’s People Operations department, Laszlo Bock: “There’s a myth we all carry inside our head. We think we need superstars. But that’s not what our research found. You can take a team of average performers, and if you teach them to interact the right way, they’ll do things no superstar could ever accomplish … What matters is having a voice and social sensitivity.”

The study found that the importance of team members feeling like they can speak and that each is sensitive to the way others feel was essential to team success. Having psychological safety in an environment where trust and honesty flourish is essential to teams in any area. Even in your Box, Affiliate.

It might be time to ask yourself the questions Duhigg posed: “Are you encouraging equality in speaking, or rewarding the loudest people? Are you modeling listening? Are you demonstrating a sensitivity to what people think and feel, or are you letting decisive leadership be an excuse for not paying as close attention as you should?”

Although you could be thinking that letting each of your Coaches have a voice might be ineffective or inefficient, Duhigg said in the long run it is more productive. “As a team member, we share control by demonstrating that we are genuinely listening — by repeating what someone just said, by responding to their comments, by showing we care by reacting when someone seems upset or flustered, rather than acting as if nothing is wrong,” wrote Duhigg. “When we defer to others’ judgment, when we vocally treat others’ concerns as our own, we give control to the group and psychological safety takes hold.”

It’s time to build an environment of psychological safety in your Box, Affiliate. Grab your honesty hat and your belt of trust, and let’s begin.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.