Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Teamwork according to Google

Google has five tips for effective teamwork as discovered by their People Operation's Group. They asked 200 people in their Project Aristotle a series of questions hoping to figure out the proper mix of tech nerds to physicists to scholars to come up the proper ingredients for the perfect team.

But what they found was not what they expected. It wasn't the mix of PhDs that made a good team, but how they worked together. Is it just me but doesn't that seem obvious?

So what are Google's five keys to a successful group:

1. Psychological Safety. Are you free to safely take risks in your group or will you be ostracized or punished. Hopefully, your teammates are supportive and don't see risk takers as ignorant or disruptive.

2. Dependability. Anybody who has done a school project knows exactly what this means.

3. Structure and clarity. Does the group get the assignment (task), have a plan to accomplish the assignment, and will it be successful? If you can answer "yes" to these questions, you are on your way to success.

4. Meaning. This can really only be defined by an individual, but it basically boils down to "Do you like what you are doing?" In the case of Google (or any other employer), this can be a lifetime of drudgery or delight. In the case of student groups, it can amount to how valuable the project may be to your landing a job. Did it help you make a decision (do you really want to do this for the rest of your life?).

5. Impact. For Google employees what "impact" amounts to is does your work make a difference? For student groups you might think it applies to the grade you received, especially in those groups where you get to grade each other. There is ALWAYS that one person that didn't do anything (or very little).

Do you like working in groups? You will be working in groups when you get into the working world, how do you think you will handle that? What do you think makes a successful team?


  1. I do not mind working in groups in particular. There are advantages to working alone and in groups, I can adapt to any situation when I am working. When I work in groups, I would take up the leading role if there is no one willing to do so. By leading, I mean by organizing the project we are working on in general, not overseeing how everyone does their work. I give people space to do their own assignments and oversee the project as a whole. In certain situations when other people take charge, I would be willing to listen to instructions and advice and focus on my own tasks. I think what makes a successful team is when everyone knows their role in the team and act as a team to help each other out. For example, as I was saying, sometimes I take up the leading role and sometimes I do not. Everyone needs to be clear with what their roles are and play along. Moreover, we are working as a group, so we should help each other out while we can. Instead of just doing their own assignments and ignore others.

  2. This probably belongs under a sub-category of "Dependability" and "Structure and Clarity", but a good sense of direction (for the individual and for the team) and division of work is vital. That is, teammates should be fully aware of their task, and how it relates to the others' work to form a whole. Too often group projects end up with few people doing most of the work, not necessarily because of laziness, but because the others do not give the rest a good, concrete task. And so they will take it up themselves because they worry about the work being done correctly and up to their standard. I'm guilty of this myself; taking charge and not first deciding what everyone will be doing. This is why having "Structure and Clarity" is so important to complete the task. After all, what use is a group if only a portion allow themselves to work?
    I like group projects where the others also have a sense of confidence and taking charge because it means we can easily trust each other to divide up the work well. In my experience, it surprisingly does not lead to conflict. But I ought to be able to work with anyone.

  3. For me, personally I like to work in a collective team and collaborate on ideas and topics to get a different perspective on how people and thinking based on the issue at hand. I agree with those five main characteristics of psychological safety, dependability, structure, clarity, meaning and impact and when I work in groups in the real world I think its important to apply these characteristics towards yourself, but also instill core values towards your team that make you who you are so people can see the redeeming qualities that got you to success in your life. A successful team is an organized, well communicated group of individuals who don't strive to be anyone else but themselves and collaborate with one another effectively and with positive attitudes.

  4. Although I usually prefer to work individually, I can see why working as a team can be more helpful. I think working in groups is a better idea because you get to explore each others ideas and come to a conclusion together. When I get into the working world, I think I'll be able to work in groups without a problem. As a huge NBA fan, I can say that the best teams win with teamwork. Just like playing basketball, it's important for team members to assist each other. The successful teams are the teams that work together and come to a conclusion whether or not disagreements take place.

  5. Generally speaking, I enjoy working in groups. For the most part, groups can make a project or a large task more simple to do, if the group's are properly organized, especially with the Google's five keys. Along with that groups have the potential to create future friendships with people that you never thought you'd end up being friends with. As someone who's had a fair amount of group projects in the past, I can say that has happened to me a couple times.
    Since I now know that I will be working in groups (and have) in English 126, I think have and will continue to handle that pretty well. I believe that what makes a successful team is one where one where every member is fully engaged and dedicated to completing the work that they need to complete. In addition to this, I believe that a successful team also has a leader that divides tasks for the team accordingly and in an organized fashion.

  6. In my opinion, the five keys that are mentioned in the article are keys to make people succeed at anything. If you do things by following these five keys, anything you do would be enjoyable and easy. Getting back to the article, if a group wants to be successful, EVERYONE in the group is required those five keys. For me, in some types of works I like to work in group, but sometimes I would prefer to work on my own, too. But since I want to be a trader in the future, I am probably going to be working in groups for most of the time. I think everything that's related to business is finished and worked by groups of people. I think I can be pretty helpful in a group because I like to get things done as fast as I can. My family owns two companies, maybe working with my father and my brother in the future will be a great experience and a good path!

  7. Teamwork is generally a very subjective topic for me because most of the time, there will always be that teammate who isn’t doing their job right or a leader who’s too bossy for his own good. Yet, I find myself that since teamwork can incorporate these negative qualities, it’s more synonymous to life’s challenges in which you do not have time to care about minute flaws in one another. In the work environment, you’re going to be grouped with complete strangers, not your best friends. These strangers could be the greatest annoyances you will ever face, but in the face of the goal you all are achieving, you would have to set aside those differences for the greater good. How the group does in the end would then result in what kind of lessons and bonds you all share. If you succeed, did you feel a sense of accomplishment and felt grateful that your peers have done their job right? If you failed, what lessons have you learned to prevent such a thing to happen again? Did you do your part correctly or did you do anything else to help guide your teammates? A lot of these questions build people’s character, and teamwork is a great medium to do just that. You don’t just get into a group and come out with no insight to gain.
    Personally, working in groups have always been great and life-learning for me. Yes, I was the guy who didn’t do his work most of the time. Yes, I did talk and boss too much without contributing my fair share of the work. However, from those experiences and critiques from my teammates, I learnt the necessary aspects that I need in order for a group to function, which Google has stated in their five tips of teamwork. I learnt to be accepting to the point where my teammate aren’t afraid to take risks around me. I learnt that I can’t be a burden anymore. I learnt that communication is most important weapon in teams. I learnt that every member must be devoted in their work, and finally I needed to understand the end goal of the project.

  8. In college, most of people are stressed out when they have a “group project”. Group project sounds like fun and having less responsibility because of the expectation that other people will cover my laziness. Therefore, many of us use group project as a chance for being irresponsible and getting a free good grade and that is why I did not like group project as well. However, getting interested how companies works for more productive outcome, I realized most of good companies work as teams which are assigned different projects. Work as a team is a strong method to reach for a common goal only if all participants are fully devoting under the right system. I think those five factors listed above can be a good guideline for successful group work. A successful team should be organized well and everyone in the group is aiming the same. Work should be distributed fairly and Strong bonding and trust between members is also a key.

  9. This article reminds my past job experience at LG logistics team. As the article stated, I think Psychological Safety is very important. When I just entered the office and was learning new tasks, I sometimes made some mistakes. At first, of course I was frustrated and didn't know what to do. However, my boss and team members didn't blame me but taught me how to solve it. I became very comfortable gradually and didn't make mistakes anymore. I realized that psychologically relaxed person can do much better and more tasks in the same time and period.
    I went to the international high-school in Korea, so my school curriculum was focused on cooperation. Because everyone spoke all different languages and had different English level, all the time we needed to work together. I feel like I leaned how to be a person how and what should I do to finish the task successfully. Still I need to learn more and I'd love to learn at Google!
    I totally understand that sometimes there are some irresponsible people who do not participate and make others stressful. However, I who have already experienced a good case of group work can say that group working is worth to finish one task but also to develop myself.

  10. Group projects have the ability to connect students and break apart the information which can allow every student to understand the martial better. If the balance of this group is correct it can be very beneficial for the students and can help them improve their assignments. If students distribute the work evenly this can lead to a great way to teach subjects. The information posted is accurate with the points of how a group can be successful while still learning about the subject.

  11. These five key for successful group are actually the core disciplines of the teamwork. Even if the person prefers to work individually the skill of working in group is the most essential in nowadays.
    I personally find that working in a team is very valuable and challenging experience. A teamwork helps to learn something new about yourself. How you solve the problems and issues in a timely manner, or how you handle the problem in a stressful situation. Based on my experience, working in a team with every member equally participating is the best way to make a progress in work and succeed in a job; therefore, nowadays every employee states that this skill is very crucial.

  12. These five key are the elements that you would need anywhere for example, a job, college, high school or anywhere you would work. Working as a team is helpful for you and other people. This helps you to divide the work and information and think of a topic from every side you can. In a teamwork you can find your weaknesses and strength that would help you become better each time. In my personal experience of teamwork I feel it was great because I had help if I was stuck and we didn't assign the work and just leave but worked together in a place and get the ideas together to get the project to be a success. Every class that I have taken in my college in my sophomore year has required me to do teamwork and it has made me even more confident in doing so. For example, in math you have to compare answers and help your team if they need help, English where you have to discuss essays, peer review, work on activities. In every work field teamwork is required because most companies would tell you to work as a team because the company wants their profit and if you would not then maybe they will tell you to leave the job or you would have to find a job where there is no teamwork but that is much less thing that can be found in current jobs.

  13. Personally I’ve found group work to either be successful or disappointing. More times than not in life and in school, working with others is just another key essential to our daily lives. Looking back on my many group projects I’ve realized that these 5 tips Google found are really the bases for an effective group work. I remember when it came to group work in high school, the minute my teacher said we could pick our groups my friends and I would make eye contact with each other signaling that we would be a group. As fun as it is being able to work with your friends I’ve found it’s not always that easy. There’s always going be that one friend or team member that is either going slack off and not be reliable or just not even do their fair share making someone else do double the work. It’s inevitable to get out of group work because the interaction with others is just the way of life, but to be successful is making sure everyone is on the same page. As a team everyone needs to be willing to work for their grade or goal instead of letting others do the work for them.

  14. Anavenessa Aguirre
    17 April 2017
    ENGL 1002
    All of these tips were very successful, because to our knowledge we already know all off these tips, however, how come they rarely workout for us. As you can see Google is known for working in a team setting. I believe most of their team work comes from “Psychological Safety”, which they explained that in group settings it is all about taking risk. Most team mate members always want to be on the same page or also never take any risk. Also, we can tend to have mix feelings in the group if any of the risk do not work out, which is why everyone avoids it. However, to re-cap Google addresses that in order to have an excellent team you will all need to have some risk takers. I see this as being a helpful tip, because sometimes in group projects teachers like to see that students went to an extend for certain things. For example, in one of my classes we had to only survey 10 people, however, we went to the extreme and did 36, because we felt like we would have a more of an accurate percentage and knowledge to what we were asking for. Lastly, tip number 4 was very helpful, “Meaning”, which is being described as do you like what you are doing. This tip is very important, because if you don’t then there won’t be any effort into completing the task to your best availability. Such as, in my job we are given specific task and I enjoyed doing each and every one of them reason to it being is, because I enjoy planning events. Keep in mind I work with a team of 4. I suggest everyone to take a look at this blog, because it does have helpful tips for any group work that may come along in the future.

  15. Throughout my years of schooling so far I've had a terrible experience with group work so far. I'm not quite sure what's the reason for this. I think the difficulty that I've had with group work is either i'm really shy so I will stay to myself in the group or I can be really dominating and want to take control of the entire project for which some people can be overbearing. Reading this article I've realized that the older I've got I've gained some of the skills listed such as dependability and psychological safety which have reflected throughout me since I've started college. I personally don't really like groups because everyone has their own unique ways and things to do but I am perfecting my group working skills so that when I get into my career I will know how to work with all different types of people regardless to any circumstances.