“We were dead wrong,” admits Google HR team

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A specialist HR task force set up by Google to find the secret behind building the perfect team has finally come back with an answer – and it was surprisingly simple, even to them.

“We were dead wrong,” admitted people operations analyst Julia Rozovsky, who revealed she’d been expecting to uncover a reliable algorithm that could be used to form the best teams in future.

“We were pretty confident that we'd find the perfect mix of individual traits and skills necessary for a stellar team,” she explained. “Take one Rhodes Scholar, two extroverts, one engineer who rocks at AngularJS, and a PhD. Voila. Dream team assembled, right?”

Sadly, “voila” just didn’t happen.

Dubbed ‘Project Aristotle,’ the initiative took over two years, included interviews from hundreds of Google employees and analysed data from more than 180 active teams at the company.

The data, however, couldn’t provide a concrete recipe for success – instead, it showed a more human side to setting up effective teams.

Who is on a team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions,” said Rozovsky – essentially, the best teams are made up of people who respect one another’s emotions, can depend on each other and actually care about what they’re doing.

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  • Pomponia Martinez, MAM, CHRP on 2016-03-07 11:20:04 AM

    Daniel Pink's performance motivators: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose would have told Google this!
    I have led and worked on many successful teams and agree that it is more about process than people. The vast majority of people are already smart, they just need effective collaboration!

  • Rick on 2016-03-14 8:29:51 AM

    How about that!

  • Omar on 2016-03-15 9:07:58 PM

    It's not that simple Pomponia. Based on my experience a team's success depends on the people with positive attitude, having mutual trust and respect and willingness to learn and grow collectively. Give me the right people and I can come up with the amazing processes. But even well structured processes won't work with the wrong people on a team.

  • Pomponia Martinez on 2016-03-15 10:28:35 PM

    Omar, I would certainly agree that positive attitudes make for effective teams. That being said, in my experience running large, complex I/T projects, I have found that often (on every project that I have led, actually) that even people who don't start out with that positive attitude grow to have a positive influence when they are treated with respect, included in decision-making and given opportunities that are meaningful to them. I agree, that when dealing with people, nothing is ever "simple", but when we choose to see the best in people, they most often show us their best side.

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