by Chaise A. Perez
Photo Credit: http://www.google.com
Google has the meaning of “team” locked down. At first, they had no clue of how to have successful teams that worked the best together to reach their maximum potential. They wanted to create the perfect or best teams with the best people in them. Google had no idea how to create these teams and Google’s People Operations department discovered that there was no research done within the company of who works best together. The purpose of this case study is to explain one of Google’s projects, Project Aristotle. Project Aristotle began in 2012, with project leader Abeer Dubey, a manager in People Analytics division of Google.
The purpose of this study at Google was to find why some of their teams did very well and why some did very poorly. The researchers wanted to see how the best teams were made. They had many questions about the formation of teams. Google’s researchers wanted to know if the best teams were made by people who were similar, people who similar educational experiences, if they teams were friends not just in the office, and what personalities matched up. They tried to balance the gender and watched how well and how long the teams worked together in multiple different types of group environments.
The key findings that the researchers at Google were they could never find certain patterns or noticed any type of team stuck out and seemed to work the best. They began their research by reading another academic study they found about how teams can and cannot work together. Then they gathered 180 different teams to study. Teams that had “friends” or people who were in contact outside of the office seemed to be ranked in some of the more effective teams. Another one of the other ranked teams were people who did not know each other at all, they were complete strangers. The most effective team they found was people who were almost exactly the same working together. They tried to focus their time on the “group norms” found within the research. “Norms are the traditions, behavioral standards and unwritten rules that govern how we function when we gather,” (nytimes.com).
Google discovered that it didn’t matter who was on the team, it mattered how well the teams worked together. I believe their research was very well planned out and thought through. I believe the results that Google had, show that you need to study people in their own environments and other in environments to see what they could bring to the table. The main goal is to see how they work with other people and make sure they are efficient in everything they do.
I believe that the study’s findings are accurate, but I do believe that there can be certain qualities that make teams or groups effective. There are certain characteristics that could definitely work well together. In class, we learned about the advantages of organizational relationships. These advantages could have definitely been put to good use in their research. The advantages include: social interaction, social support, minority influence, and it has a flow of information. Each of these advantages bring their own importance to working with groups. Working with these advantages can definitely increase the efficiency and speed of progress.
One time I had participated with a group that worked effectively was back my freshman year of college preparing and running the pep rally. We had certain characteristics to bring the team. There were people who were super outgoing who passed out tickets, the intention was to get whoever was coming in excited, the more quite people ran the raffle ticket table, they did not have to do much communicating, there were the people who were mediocre that lead students to the student section and non-students to the other sections, and lastly there were the event coordinators who did all the behind-the-scenes things, who did a lot of working with people to put it together, but not when the event came, they stayed back and let the rest of us do our jobs. With our different characteristics, we all did our jobs and exceed the expectations of those above us. The pep rally went every well and it was very successful thanks to everyone who stepped up.
Re:Work – Guide: Understand team effectiveness. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2016, from https://rework.withgoogle.com/guides/understanding-team-effectiveness/steps/introduction/
Duhigg, C. (2016). What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team. Retrieved September 30, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/magazine/what-google-learned-from-its-quest-to-build-the-perfect-team.html?_r=1
National Geographic – Inside Google (High-Definition). (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2016, from https://vimeo.com/55885729