What Google Can Teach You About Powerful Team Building
Google has built the most valuable global brand in technology in under two decades. While strong initial growth is expected with tech companies, the ability to sustain year over year success, especially as teams grow, can often be challenging.
So, what can Google teach early stage entrepreneurs about building internal teams that grow like a startup and continue to do well beyond the first year?
Google recently ran an in-house multi-year study of their own teams, and the results were surprising even to them. They expected their success was the result of putting together teams containing a PhD. from a leading school, a high-performance salesperson, and top engineers. However, it turned out that the dynamic of the group as a whole and the stated group expectations were more essential than the group’s skillset. Google’s ideals held as a standard from the top down were the most influential. They break down into 5 considerations.
Those 5 crucial elements are:
- Psychological Safety
This is the most crucial of the five. Psychological safety is about making everyone feel safe to speak when gathered together.
It can be vulnerable to share viewpoints and new ideas in a group setting, but it is the sharing of those kind of things that refreshes and innovates teams.
Managers and group leaders who put emphasis on making every member feel valued and able to speak without fear of dismissal get access to new ideas regularly, as well as promote diversity. The fear of being different is minimized by leadership approval and in turn reinforced by group norm standards being set up to support those differences.
Team wide dependability must encapsulate every member, not simply one or two members with can-do attitudes. When delegating tasks within a group, it is important to create dependability by considering the clarity of the task specified, a reasonable timeframe allotment, and an open invite to ask for assistance during the execution if needed.
Setting up all members of the team to have the basics of what is needed to do their best brings out about a natural flow that a “pressure cooker, just get it done, against all odds” mentality doesn’t. While some may thrive or envision top performance as coming from demanding environments, it often results in lack of dependability at key moments.
- Structure & Clarity
Building on the points of the first two values, strong teams are built upon their leaders promoting a clear understanding of the following:
How the group is organized
Who can be sought for what need
What will be expected from each team member as well as for each team member
This reinforces the value of all participants to each other, and fosters interoperability as well as cohesiveness throughout.
- Meaning of Work
Team members that believe their work is meaningful take a personal interest and work harder to achieve team goals. It is not only important to identify who is being affected, but also to demonstrate and reinforce how they are being affected. Inspired teams naturally work better and work synergistically.
- Impact of Work
Empowering leaders go the extra mile by speaking to the impact of what is being created to the team. Teams that have a positive sense of how they are changing lives look forward to what they do.
How are you building your teams? Does this list look similar or drastically different? Write in with your experiences. We always enjoy having the discussions that build tomorrow’s titans.