01 August 2016

Five keys to a successful team

What makes for a great team? 
At work, on a committee, some community project, or even the team you call family…  why do some groups function really well, while others are just horrid? What would you imagine are the 5 top qualities?

This week, we learn from Google’s extensive research that provides their intriguing and highly informative answers, and here is a tip – having the “right people” is not the simple solution, plus a reminder below of the talks along the East Coast starting at Cairns on August 14th, Brisbane the 18th and 21st, Sydney the 23rd -  but first

Thought for the day

The wave is the same as the ocean, 
Though it is not the whole ocean. 

So each wave of creation 
Is a part of the eternal Ocean of Spirit. 

The Ocean can exist without the waves,
But the waves cannot exist without the Ocean. 

Paramahansa Yogananda

At Google, they call Human Resources “People Operations”. Fair enough. So a team of the People Operations Group spent quite some time in search of what makes for a good team.

To begin with, they thought that putting together a great team  may well be to do with getting the best qualified people for the respective jobs the team needed to fulfill.

Two years and two hundred interviews later, and after rigorously analysing heaps of their own data, 250 attributes of over 180 active Google teams had been examined. The first up conclusion was stunning! The evidence was clear.

Who is on a team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions.

To quote the analysts

We learned that there are five key dynamics that set successful 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 & 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?

Check in for yourself. It fits does it not? When you reflect, to feel well able to contribute and to be an active team member, safety is a basic starting point. Dependability, structure and clarity are obvious enough, but then more and more in the work place we also are seeing the recognition of the importance of meaning and purpose. Doing something that matters.

Yet even so, it was psychological safety that was identified as the most important factor by far. Do you feel safe to ask questions, or do you feel like you will be ridiculed for doing so? Are you confident to float an idea and have the others treat it with curiosity, open enquiry and respect?

Clearly we are all sensitive to how others perceive our competence, awareness, and positivity. To quote the Google team again “although self-protection is a natural strategy in the workplace, it is detrimental to effective teamwork. On the flip side, the safer team members feel with one another, the more likely they are to admit mistakes, to partner, and to take on new roles”.

And when investigated, it was found that people who felt psychologically safe stayed at Google longer, were more likely to harness the power of diverse ideas from their teammates, they brought in more income and received double the effectiveness ratings from executives.

So what to do?
The Google mob “created a tool called the gTeams exercise: a 10-minute pulse-check on the five dynamics, a report that summarizes how the team is doing, a live in-person conversation to discuss the results, and tailored developmental resources to help teams improve.

Over the past year, more than 3,000 Googlers across 300 teams have used this tool. Of those Google teams, the ones that adopted a new group norm -- like kicking off every team meeting by sharing a risk taken in the previous week -- improved 6% on psychological safety ratings and 10% on structure and clarity ratings."

Teams said that having a framework around team effectiveness and a function that forced talk about these dynamics was by far the most impactful part of the experience.

What do I do? 
Whenever possible, at the start of any meeting - in the corporate setting, for business, with colleagues during a retreat, before a meal; you name it, whenever possible - I ask all concerned to sit quietly for a few moments, to do what they can to  consciously let go of past and present and bring their attention to the present moment; maybe aid this by focusing on sounds or breath, and aim to be still for a few moments. To allow it all to settle for a few moments.

Then before concluding, we bring our attention to the meeting’s agenda, remind ourselves that we meet to address our agenda for the meeting, consider anything we need to focus on personally, gather our thoughts; but over and above that, remind ourselves that through the meeting we aim to be of assistance to as many people as possible.

It is often surprising to me how enthusiastically people new to this way of starting a meeting respond. It regularly transforms the atmosphere and the outcomes of meetings. It just takes that little bit of oomph to initiate it. And yes, we sit quietly for a few moments at the end of the meeting too...


With thanks to Julia Rozovsky, analyst, Google People Operations and her blog of November 17, 2015.

East Coast Speaking Engagements  –  August 2016

Please share these details with everyone you know who may be interested, 
and Ruth and I look forward to reconnecting with as many of you as possible along the way :)

Cairns - Mind, Heart and Healing - Saturday 13th August

An inspiring and practical day seminar focused on peace of mind and accelerated healing.
For everyone seeking good health, healing and wellbeing.
Date        Saturday 13th August, 2016      Starts 10am (arrive 9.30) to 4pm
Venue       Khacho Yulo Ling Buddhist Centre, 348 Severin Street, Cairns
Enquiries   Call  07 4041 5556    or email   info@yuloling.com
Bookings    Online, go to https://trybooking.com/MAWT 
            or call Rinchen  07 4041 5556
Brisbane - Cancer Choices - Thursday 18th August

When faced with cancer, there are many choices to make. It is easy to be confused and maybe miss something crucial. Good decision-making can be learnt.
Ian reveals key strategies for gathering accurate information and then using the intellect and our intuition to decide what is appropriate for us.

Date      Thursday, August 18th, 2016 from 7pm (arrive 6.30) to 10pm
Venue   The Relaxation Centre of Queensland, 15 South Pine Rd, Alderley    
Enquiries and Bookings   The Relaxation Centre   Telephone  07 3856 3733
Flier       Click here

Brisbane - Meditation, Stillness and Bliss - Sunday 21st August 

Stillness and bliss are genuine experiences in meditation. They are deeply comforting, deeply reassuring; quite wonderful to encounter.
During this highly experiential workshop, Ian will guide you into experiences that could well transform your meditation practice, and maybe even your life.

Date        Sunday, August 21st, 2016 from 10am (arrive 9.30) to 4pm
Venue     The Relaxation Centre, 15 South Pine Rd, Alderley, Brisbane
Enquiries and Bookings    The Relaxation Centre  Telephone  07 3856 3733
Flier        Click here

Sydney - Feed Your Body, Free Your Mind with Greg Fitzgerald  - Tuesday 23rd August

Today, it is more common than not to hear people complain that they simply do not feel well and that they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.
This evening comes as the first of two seminars separated by 21 days designed by Greg and Dawn Fitzgerald to help you turn your health around and head into Spring and Summer with the energy, health and peace of mind which is your birthright.
Date        Tuesday the 23rd of August, 2016, 7-10pm;
Venue      Doltone House, 223 Belgrave Esplanade, Sylvania Waters, South Sydney
Bookings and enquiries   Book online at www.healthforlife.com.au

                         or phone Dawn on 95401962 or 0424246847

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