By: Tyler Starr
Many of the greatest decisions in the history of mankind have been decided upon by groups of people all working together for the greater good. There is, undeniably, a lot more knowledge in the minds of multiple people than in just one person. The idea of working in a group, or team, setting is that the members of the group will be able to “put their heads together” and combine all of their knowledge. This will create new ideas that would originally never been possible to think of. When it comes to what makes one group of people more effective than another, it is vital to companies to put their employees’ minds together in the most productive way possible. What makes a group productive? Well the company Google
was determined that they would figure out how to construct the perfect group. This case study will look at what they called The Aristotle Project, and how they went about looking at what makes a group efficient.
A company that is always on the cutting edge of technology like Google is always looking for the next big innovation that will help them to be even more successful than they already are (National Geographic 2012). They developed a study called the Aristotle Project that would allow them to measure different aspects that certain groups of people excelled at and others would fail at (Duhigg 2016). They looked at a lot of different work groups, both good and bad, to see if they could find any patterns in what the good groups had in common to make them stand out from the others.
When they looked at their results, they couldn’t find any certain patterns within the groups that made them good or bad groups when it came to the physical makeup of the group. With a company like Google they are usually phenomenal when it comes to finding patterns in things so they were truly surprised when nothing stuck out as different in all of the groups they considered to be good. They were going to have to take a different route of thinking about the makeup of a group outside of just the people that were involved in it (Duhigg 2016).
They ended up finding out that it was not the people that made up the group that determined to productivity of the group but, instead, the way that the people in the group interacted when they were in a meeting. They saw that groups needed to have a lot of psychological safety. This means that the members of a group need to feel completely safe with expressing their opinions at any time. If the people in the group feel like they can completely open up and say anything without being judged then the group will flow a lot better and be more productive. Another key component to a group’s success is that everybody gives input on a topic. It is important to hear what everyone has to say about every topic that the group is discussing.
This means that when a person is forming a group they need to make sure they put people in the group that all have different strengths but you don’t want to put a really overbearing person into the group. Good people to put into a group together are people that will let each other speak in the group setting without passing judgement on one another and will allow each other to all express their opinions. It is important that the members of a group understand their group’s needs (re: Work, 2016).
This study would definitely have an influence on the kind of people that I would choose if I had to put a group together in the future. Before I had read about this study y first choice of personnel would have been a boisterous leader that I knew would have taken charge and given people assignments. Now I would stray away from that type of person and focus on people that I think would get along with each other better and feel more comfortable accepting roles with each other. This will be something that I could immediately put to use in my studies here at Ashland University.
re: Work. (2016). Guide: Understand Team Effectiveness. Retrieved from https://rework.withgoogle.com/guides/understanding-team-effectiveness/steps/introduction/
Duhigg, C. (2016, February 25). What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/magazine/what-google-learned-from-its-quest-to-build-the-perfect-team.html?_r=0
National Geographic. (2012). Inside Google. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/55885729