Developing Teams

Designing team meetings


What makes teams high performing?

In 2012, Google embarked on an investigation - code-named Project Aristotle - to study hundreds of Google’s teams and figure out why some did not work well at all whilst others excelled.  Project Aristotle’s researchers reviewed 50-years’ worth of academic studies looking at how teams worked and then looked closely at all aspects of Google’s own teams.

No matter how they arranged the data it was almost impossible to find patterns — or any evidence that the composition of a team made any difference.

We looked at 180 teams from all over the company. We had lots of data, but there was nothing showing that a mix of specific personality types or skills or backgrounds made any difference. The ‘who’ part of the equation didn’t seem to matter.”
“At Google, we’re good at finding patterns. There weren’t strong patterns here.
— Google project manager

Eventually, Google came to the conclusion that there were five key dynamics – or norms – that set high performing teams apart.

  1. Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
  2. Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?
  3. Structure and clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?
  4. Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?
  5. Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we are doing matters?

So how do you create these 5 dynamics?

Teams now have more organisational options:

  • Conversations are used to develop understanding and trust
  • Meetings are used for coordination, decision-making, maintaining forward momentum
  • Workshops are used to answer specific questions using the diverse knowledge of team members (e.g. “what should we focus our attention on?”; “what have we learnt from the last project?”; “what is the best way to achieve our goal?”)

Design of these activities becomes a key leadership skill.


Designing Team Meetings

Training to help leaders run meetings, workshops and conversations in ways that enhance the experience of encounter and its propagation amongst staff

  • 3 x 1 ½ sessions several weeks apart with ‘homework’ between sessions
  • Resources manual

Cost: $6,000 + GST

Resources Manual

Resources Manual