Modeling Google’s “Dream Team”

Think of some of the greatest teams in history. The Dream Team. Sherlock and Watson. The ‘72 Dolphins. The Avengers!

Have you ever thought about what really made them great?

Google has. It’s a bit of an obsession for them. They spend millions of dollars and countless hours researching what makes great teams great.

As part of their “Project Aristotle” they started with the assumption that recruiting a group of the best players/thinkers/leaders, etc…  would then lead to a great team. They set out to develop an algorithm to identify these great teams on a consistent basis.

After two years of research, they still had no identifiable system for creating the dream team at will.

As they struggled through the project, the team at Google often found the research coming back to what psychologists and sociologists call “group norms” or “the traditions, behavioral standards and unwritten rules that govern how teams function when they gather.”

Even though these norms sometimes go unspoken, their influence is extensive.

So Google shifted to a heightened focus on collective intelligence or “the abilities that emerge out of collaboration.” They began to work through the data searching for any team behaviors that increased the collective intelligence of a group or team.

On Google’s Re:Work website, they share the five essentials that they’ve identified in the greatest teams.

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 & 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’re doing matters?

Interestingly, psychological safety was the most important of the five by some distance.

In the church, we have the world’s greatest mission. To accomplish that mission we need some of the world’s greatest teams. Is your team on track to be great?

In the church, we have the world’s greatest mission. To accomplish that mission we need some of the world’s greatest teams. Is your team on track to be great? Click To Tweet

For those of us who lead teams in a ministry context here are some additional questions to help create health and high performance on our unique teams.

1. Psychological safety on a ministry team

Do I give my team permission to try things and fail? Is my team able to appropriately challenge the status quo without fear of backlash?

2. Dependability on a Ministry Team

Do I hold my team appropriately accountable for high ministry performance as well as health? Am I building a culture of the team-based accountability where teammates encourage each other and expect great results?

3. Meaning of Work

Does my team have clarity on the mission and 5-year vision for our church?

4. Impact of Work

Do we take time to celebrate wins and share stories of how God is working within our church?

Do we take time to celebrate wins and share stories of how God is working within our church? Click To Tweet

One of the ways the Unstuck Process helps churches is by identifying 3-5 key behavioral values that you need to define for your team to drive the type of culture you want. 

If you sense that your church’s culture isn’t where you would like it to be, we should talk. And if you really want to develop a great team, monitor these five essentials.

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