High Performing Teams

Aristotle and High Performing Teams

3 minute read

In this article, we highlight the Google research conducted on creating and driving high-performing teams.

This was called Project Aristotle – named after Aristotle (BCE 384 – BCE322) the famous Greek philosopher who is attributed (some experts say incorrectly) with the quote…

…”the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”

attributed to Aristotle

Side note, this project was conducted in 2015…but is still very relevant in a post-COVID world.

5 keys to performing teams

The 5 elements that drove high performing teams at Google can be summarised as:

  1. Psychological safety: Creating an environment (or Culture) where team members feel ‘safe’ to take an interpersonal risk (like speaking up about a problem).
  2. Dependability: When everyone on the team is accountable, reliable and trustworthy – the team succeeds.
  3. Structure and clarity: Just so long as rules are not too rigid that they stifle progress and thought.
  4. Meaningful work: Where work is personally important to team members. Or put another way, the team has Purpose.
  5. Impact and value of the work on others. Team members – from their subjective perspective – feel the work they are doing is creating impact.

What does this teach us?

Project Aristotle outlined some of the elements to make a high performing team.

It is therefore a starting point in your journey to establishing a team.

We feel it also highlights how a team cannot succeed unless there is a Culture where performance is nurtured and allowed to exist.

The following is just our very broad view of Culture- noting there are plenty of learned people out there to reference.

How do you start thinking about your culture?

Answering the question of ‘what is your Culture?’ is a key to a great business.

It creates the foundations of how a team will operate and how it will support the organisation’s Purpose.

It starts with clarity of Purpose.

We have some FREE CULTURE resources from trusted experts to share if you’re interested- and for the cost of a coffee, most of them will also happily meet with you too!

In the meantime, our take on Culture starts (but does not finish) with:

  • Knowing why the company exists (its Purpose) helps create a broad roadmap of how people should act and ‘Lead’.
  • Purpose creates Values, Vision and Mission which in turn help create the ways the 5 elements are realised.

And includes how we lead.

A performance Culture also begins to form when we develop and use resources to help leaders lead.

Resources can include systems (an electronic onboarding platform) or tools (a robust and fair performance procedure).

Whatever you create, they should help leaders to:

  1. Lead [to] Company.
  2. Lead Self.
  3. Lead Team.

A caution

This article is to help you begin to think about the building blocks to creating your team. And we should also note some practitioners preach exactly the opposite to Project Aristotle.

Having a Culture is also not a magic bullet in a post-Covid world of tightening labour. It will help with initial fit to the organisation while you focus on helping people be capable in their roles.

Most teams come to work to try and rise to the bar of being their best.

Whether your team rises to the ‘capability bar’ that is best for the organisation is another thing entirely.

a #robservation

Thanks for reading and if you still have questions after reading this article, reach out to one of the team at Quantum Hr and we’ll happily provide some further and no obligation thoughts or two to consider.