The team experience

The team experience is crucial these days.  More and more of today’s work is undertaken in teams.  In fact, the Harvard Business Review suggests that collaborative activities have increased by 50% or more in the past twenty years.  I bet you recognise that, given the amount of meetings in your diary these days.  It makes sense for business, given that teams are more creative than individuals, see errors sooner and find better solutions to problems.

team experienceGoogle has recently carried out some research to find out what makes the highest performing teams.  It turns out that there are just two factors that create a better team experience, that in turn lead to better performance.  And surprisingly, it doesn’t matter who is in the team.

The first differentiator is in how team members treat each other.  In particular, whether they allow each person to take equal airtime in conversation over the course of a day.  If everyone gets a chance to say their piece, the team is more successful than those teams that do not distribute conversation equally.

The second differentiator of high performing teams is in the individuals’ ability to intuit how others on the team are feeling; and to allow for conversations about feelings.

Put these together, and you get high psychological safety, where people feel they can bring their whole selves into work.  Google’s research shows that this psychological safety is what makes a team work better together.  We need to feel that we can share things that are scary or sad, without fear of recrimination.  We need to be able to have difficult conversations with our peers about how their behaviours are affecting us.

So what are you doing today to create that psycholigical safety in your team?  Do you give others on your team equal airtime?  Do you recognise how others are feeling and work with that?  Do you allow for the more personal conversations to happen?  How vulnerable are you with your own personal stuff?

If you want to create a better team experience that leads to higher results, take note…and start creating a culture where people feel safe to be fully themselves.

Insights taken from “What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team” by Charles Duhigg.