What Google Learned About Teams

Notes taken from the article What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team

The key characteristics of ‘enhanced teams’

  1. Psychological safety: Everyone feels safe in taking risks around their team members, and that they won’t be embarrassed or punished for doing so.
  2. Dependability: Everyone completes quality work on time.
  3. Structure and clarity: Everyone knows what their specific expectations are. These expectations must be challenging yet attainable.
  4. Meaning: Everyone has a sense of purpose in their work (i.e., financial security, supporting family, helping the team succeed, etc.)
  5. Impact: Everyone sees that the result of their work actually contributes to the organization’s overall goals.

If you’re right brained:

  1. Develop a strategic mindset. Know and understand what drives company to success.
  2. Be known for something. Do you have deep expertise in relevant areas? (i.e., financial acumen, scientific expertise or even highly specialized knowledge such as tax law or M&A accounting). Be proactive in mastering them.
  3. Practice tackling complex problems. This is especially helpful with those tricky interview questions that Google is famous for. Use those linear thinking skills to your advantage by diving deeply into issues.

If you’re left brained:

  1. Develop learning agility. Instead of defaulting to the “tried and true” (which pragmatists tend to do), be open to trying varied approaches and new ideas.
  2. Find joy in ambiguity. Practice coping with uncertainty and making decisions without having all the information beforehand.
  3. Put your social leadership skills to the test. When was the last time you motivated influenced others or deeply connected with your teammates? You might come to find that you actually enjoy it.