Author: Daniel Coyle
Reasons to read:
- To gain insight into some of the world’s most successful professional groups / teams.
- To understand how to lead a successful team.
- To learn specific traits of successful teams.
- Most successful teams describe themselves as family.
- Common features of successful teams are: standing close, lots of short and high energy conversations, regular physical contact such as fist bumps, handshakes and hugs.
- Team performance is driven by five measurable factors (findings from Alex Pentland’s study):
- Everyone in the group talks and listens in roughly equal measure, keeping contributions short.
- Members maintain high levels of eye contact, and their conversations and gestures are energetic.
- Members communicate directly with one another, not just with the team leader.
- Members carry on back-channel or side conversations with the team.
- Members periodically break, go exploring outside of the team, and bring information back to share with the others.
- Good leaders are open about their weaknesses and invite their teams to support them.
- To create safety, leaders need to actively invite input.
- Be painstaking when hiring new team members. Some companies, such as Zappos, offer trainees a $2000 bonus if they quit (about 10% accept the offer). All of this builds safety and belonging within the team.
- Avoid giving ‘sandwich feedback’ (positive, negative, positive) as people tend to focus entirely on one or the other. Instead, focus on negatives through learning-focused two-way dialogue and focus on positives through ultra clear bursts of recognition and praise.
- High proficiency environments help a group deliver a well-defined, reliable performance.
- High creativity environments help a group to create something new.