by Maria Schulz
Just the other day, I read an article in The New York Times called “What Google Learned In Its Quest To Build The Perfect Team.” It describes the years of research, and millions of dollars spent, basically pondering the question: “why do some teams thrive while other teams die on the vine?”So what was the outcome of their research? Well, the research team discovered the ups and downs of both the teams that failed and the teams that thrived.
The teams that failed were usually led by people who talked over everyone else, had internal power struggles, didn’t know and didn’t care about their teammates’ personal lives, and never felt safe sharing their ideas. Most members of those teams couldn’t wait to get out of their team meetings and back to their desks. Very little was accomplished.On the other hand, successful teams listened to each other. They didn’t talk over one another. They felt safe in their surroundings and could share information about themselves. They were creative and inspired to contribute. The people in the group took turns, joked around, and had leaders who didn’t demean them. Wow…did Google really spend all that money on this research? I know that Google is the kind of place that wants to quantify everything, but are we really so socially inept that we don’t already know this?
This is the sort of thing that people should not just apply to work, but to every area of their lives. Who wants to be around someone who just talks over you, never gives you the room to have an idea or share it, and attacks you? The answer is no one, and yet in our society, we seem to value the big bully who “gets the job done,” even if he leaves a trail of discontented and angry people in his wake.
It’s real simple: whether you’re looking for a successful workplace team, spouse, circle of friends, or leader of the free world, most people will say they want someone who creates a safe place for them. They want a person who understands what their needs are and listens to their concerns and ideas. That should be the goal, right?It’s like what every kindergarten teacher, everywhere, used to tell us.
- Let others get a word in edgewise.
- Take turns.
- Don’t hog the toys.
- Don’t say mean things.
- Stop yelling.
- Say you’re sorry.
- Forgive and forget.
- Pay attention
- Share the crayons.
- Everybody likes different things.
- You’re not the only one whose opinion matters.
- Listen to each other.
- Learn something new about each other every day.
- Don’t put up walls. Build bridges.
- Work together.
- Be considerate.
- If someone forgets their snack, give them some of yours.
- Play nice.
- Remember: we’re all in this together.
It’s not rocket science. Empathy, consideration, and compassion can create teams that thrive. It’s not enough to have smart people running things. You have to have smart people with people skills. Short of that, you have to have smart people who realize they have no people skills, but work at it.
Recipe: Cupcakes!Here are 12 of the top-rated cupcake recipes from Cooking Light magazine. You’ll find Lemon-Scented Blueberry Cupcakes, Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting, Chocolate Chip Angel Cupcakes with Fluffy Frosting, Amaretto Apple Streusel Cupcakes, and more. They are less caloric and delicious, so you can have your cupcake and eat it too.
One of the best jobs I ever had was with a group of people that celebrated birthdays. Every day, someone had a special sign created for him or her by our very talented artist (named Rich) and hung on his or her cubicle. Then, everyone would bring in some home-baked goodies and leave them on tables under the sign, so everyone could celebrate with the birthday boy or girl.
Of course, everyone put on about 15 pounds once they started working there, but it was always fun. It made people feel valued, respected, and appreciated. Our teams were filled with creative, compassionate, thoughtful people who did great work together.
So, Hungry Lifers…what’s your take on Google’s million dollar baby? What would you tell someone who wanted to know how to make their work group/marriage/circle of friends/politicians work well together? What’s your favorite birthday goodie? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!