Effective Teams, Innovation

Effective teams

We often work with clients who are trying to improve the effectiveness of their teams. Google (Rozovsky, 2015) studied effective teams and came up with the top five characteristics:

  1. Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
  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? (para. 5)

More information can be found here.

Before we share this list with a client team, we ask them to share what they think are characteristics of effective teams. We have never had a team come up with “psychological safety.” In many organizations, it is more advantageous to play it safe than to take risks. How can we foster a sense of psychological safety within our organizations?

We encourage organizations to intentionally reward and encourage risk. Google (Rozovsky, 2015) suggests that we can improve psychological safety by having team members share a risk they have taken at the beginning of each meeting. This action prompts us to think about and discuss risk.

Divergent and convergent thinking are foundations of creativity. With divergent thinking, we strive to generate as many ideas as possible before we evaluate them. A feeling of psychological safety should help team members feel comfortable to generate more ideas with each other.

While these characteristics come from research on Google teams, we encourage you to think about how they can be applied to your organization to enhance productivity. Are there characteristics that are missing?

Rozovsky, J. (2015, November 17). The five keys to a successful Google Team. Retrieved from https://rework.withgoogle.com/blog/five-keys-to-a-successful-google-team/


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