What does it take to be a successful Google team? | ALC Training News

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In the western world, we talk a lot about what it means to be an individual, yet, as all managers who have undergone IT project management training know, the team is one of the core units of production.

However, there has been very little research into what makes a quality and productive team. As always, Google has the answers.

What do you get when you Google 'team'?

Compared to managers, there has been very little research into what makes a quality and productive team.

Google's human relations department, called Google's People Operations, recently released its findings on what it believes makes a great team. The report is based on over 200 interviews with employees, part of an investigation into more than 180 Google teams and their 180-plus characteristics. 

Initially, they hypothesised that a great team was composed of high-quality talent, pulled from strong educational and technical backgrounds. However, their research points to a different conclusion.

The five characteristics of a great Google team

During the course of the research, Google found that what was important to a successful team was how its members interact, govern their day and perceive their contributions.

Specifically, there were five salient dynamics that separated the best from the rest:

  • Psychological safety;
  • Dependability;
  • Structure and clarity;
  • Meaning of work;
  • Impact of work.

Google's HR team believed that psychological safety was the most important metric because it laid the foundation for the other four.

Without a high score in this category, team members would be afraid to engage with the team if there was a chance they might be negatively judged. On the other hand, the safer a team member feels, the higher the chance the individual will admit mistakes and undertake new roles. 

Diversity breeds success

With so many people around the word working towards ITIL certification, it is important that companies embrace diversity whenever they can. Interestingly, Google's findings correlate with a February study by McKinsey. Its research found that organisations with high gender and ethnic diversity are more likely to generate revenue above their industry average.

How can a diverse work force improve a companies revenue? How can a diverse workforce improve a company's revenue?

The survey examined data from 366 public companies across a range of industries from a variety of countries. According to the figures released, companies within the upper quartile for ethnic diversity have a 35 per cent chance of receiving higher profits than the national industry median. 

Gender diversity also helped companies make greater profits, this time they were 15 per cent more likely to develop returns above the national average for their industry. 

The researchers did acknowledge that correlation does not equal causation, however, the study shows that companies that are willing to invest in a diverse leadership team are financially more successful. 

These studies show that diversity is an excellent company-wide policy that can lead to better returns both financially and ethically.  For more information on managing and leading diverse teams, talk to the team at ALC training today. 

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