people, technology, and change

The Single Most Important Factor in High Performing Teams

Google spent over two years conducting 200+ interviews with teams to look at common attributes of high performing teams. Prior, the company’s top executives long believed that building the best teams meant combining the best people. They found 5 key dynamics that set successful teams apart from other teams (in order):

1. Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed? High levels of psychological safety result in a strong sense of belonging.

2. Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?

3. Structure & clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?

4. Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?

5. Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?

Of the five key dynamics of effective teams that the researchers identified, psychological safety was by far the most important.

Team members with a high level of psychological safety and feeling of belonging scored ‘strongly agree’ with these statements:

• If you make a mistake on this team, it is not held against you.

• People on this team are able to bring up problems and tough issues.

• People on this team do not reject others for being different.

• It is safe to take a risk on this team.

• It is not difficult to ask other members of this team for help.

• No one on this team would deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts.

• Working with members of this team, my unique skills and talents are valued and utilised.

Individuals on teams with higher psychological safety are less likely to leave Google, and more likely to leverage diverse ideas from their teammates, they bring in more revenue, and they’re rated as effective twice as often by executives.

Thanks to @Leith Mitchell, Simient’s exceptionally talented Leadership Coach for sharing this info.

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