Google's Five Elements of Successful Work Teams

Teams are the backbone of the workplace.

You meet with them, brainstorm with them, and maybe even eat with them. They function as the central point of collaboration. They are, in a sense, your work family and studies show that those who work in teams often achieve better results and report higher job satisfaction. However, as with any gathering of diverse individuals problems are bound to arise, and unfortunately, as a team member, your professional (and perhaps even personal) fulfillment can hinge on group performance or member response.

While trying to navigate this fragile social ecosystem, the ultimate question becomes ‘how do you organize a successful team’?

This is where ideologies begin to differ. While many work teams are centered around specialization or project requirements, group success is reliant on far more than an employee lineup. Do you put like-minded individuals together? Separate them? Suggest a healthy mix of introverts and extroverts? Or do teams benefit from similar personalities? Do team members need to be friends outside of work? Popular theory hasn’t been able to agree on any particular methodology - that is until now.

Google, one of the world’s most sought-after employers and a global leader in corporate forward thinking, recently tackled the issue of the ideal team under the guise of Project Aristotle. The company's People Operations Department, HR for all non-googlers, spent years studying interactions of 180 teams from across the company to determine and define the makings of a ‘great team.'

The findings? Five, stand-out factors of successful work teams.

1. Psychological Safety: Do you feel comfortable taking risks?
2. Dependability: Can you depend on the members of your team?
3. Structure and Clarity: Are team objectives and roles clearly defined?
4. Meaning of Work: Does each member find their personal contribution relevant & meaningful?
5. Impact of Work: Do you feel your work matters?

OfficeVibe goes a step further, using Google’s findings to develop a Slideshare which delves into the factors that led to Google’s definition of a successful team, as well as means to improve team trust and personal contributions. Whether you are an executive, manager, or a contract worker, these are leadership and team building secrets you should keep in your back pocket.

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