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Are you wondering why some teams are high-performing while others are in total disarray? Learn Google's top insights for creating all-star teams using this 5-part formula. If you're ready to build or join a perfect team, look no further!

Welcome back, Explearners. Today we're going to talk about how to create All-Star teams. Do you ever wonder what makes a good team? What sets a good team apart from all the rest? What makes a good team as opposed to a bad team? So we're going to talk about that. All right. Let's get into it.

All right. So Google conducted a study back in 2012 and they codenamed it Project Aristotle and they were on a mission to find out what differentiated good teams from bad teams. Why were some teams high functioning? Why were they really getting along really well? And why were others not? So how did Google build the perfect team? Well, it took a lot of research and here are some of the learnings from that.

And my hope in sharing this is that you'll also be able to apply these to your own teams. When you're building teams or you're making groups, you want to be cognizant of these qualities and characteristics of what make a good team. What I like to call an all star team. So one big thing was conversational turn taking. So conversational turn taking is essentially making sure that everyone has a chance to speak.

There's no one person hogging the conversation or dominating the conversation. Everyone is participating and everyone has a turn to speak. So this seems like it would be a no brainer. But think about how often groupthink happens, right? Where there's one voice that dominates the conversation and people don't want to go against what that person has to say. And so they'll just go along with that person's idea or opinion and not chime in themselves.

So we want to avoid that. We do not want groupthink. And one way to eliminate the risks of groupthink is to make sure that everyone has a say. Is there active participation on behalf of all team members? Is everyone getting a chance to speak? Is there conversational turn taking? So that is the first one. The second one is psychological safety.

People in high functioning, high performing, close knit groups in teams felt safe. They felt safe to express themselves. They felt safe to maybe be a little goofy. They felt safe to broach serious topics. They felt safe. They, in their mind, had no qualms about, Oh, is this person going to judge me? Are my teammates going to view me differently now that I have this feeling about this thing or that opinion about that thing?

They felt safe and that is extremely important. If we want to not just have a great team, but have great rapport with people, we want to put them at ease. Same thing with a group. You want to make sure that everyone in the group feels safe to express themselves, to be themself, to participate, to be in that group, and they want to feel included.

So we have to keep in mind inclusion and diversity when it comes to helping people feel safe, because that's one way of really making sure that everyone feels a sense of belonging and they feel safe enough to express themselves in the way that they want to and feel like they can contribute without feeling judged or derided or presented with adversity.

That's the opposite of feeling safe. So you want to make sure that everyone, including yourself, feels safe. That's psychological safety. The other way to think about psychological safety is a shared belief that's held by the members of the team, that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking. So you're not afraid to make mistakes or have an opposing opinion or come up with an alternative or whatever it might be.

You feel at ease doing those things. And again, this is a big antidote to groupthink, because if people feel safe to oppose that dominant voice, let's say there is a dominant voice in the group, then groupthink is less likely to happen. Psychological safety is very important. The other thing that successful groups have is a high collective IQ.

Together the group is going to be much smarter than any one individual in that group together. They're going to come up with way better ideas than just separating them as individuals and asking people to share their ideas and their input and their feedback together as a group, their IQ collectively goes way up. So that's something to keep in mind, and that's all predicated on those different aspects of what we talked about so far.

The conversational turn-taking, the psychological safety, those are very important characteristics of a group in order for it to be a high functioning group. The other thing is high average social sensitivity. So members are skilled at intuiting how others feel based on para linguistics. That means tone of voice, their nonverbal expressions, their micro-expressions, their nonverbal cues. And this was measured by the reading, the mind in the eyes test.

So people were able to pick up on these nuances and understand the emotional state of different individuals in that group. They had a high social sensitivity. What does that remind you of? What does it tie into IQ? The emotional quotient? Having a high IQ, that high emotional sensitivity, understanding, emotional resonance within the different teammates of the group. And one thing that can help propel this forward is over time, as the group starts to get comfortable with one another, you know, work on different projects, go through the ebbs and flows of the project, they'll get to know one another better.

Right. And it's not even something that needs to be stated for someone to understand how that person feels. Right, because they can understand that through the para linguistics, the nonverbal cues. One thing that can help with this and push it forward is sharing personal and emotional experiences, because doing that type of sharing often catalyzes the melding of the group.

When someone shares something that's personal or difficult or shows some vulnerability, that automatically creates a closer bond to that person. It catapults rapport building into that next level. And the idea is for the other person and the other people in the group to reciprocate, and they also share something that might show a vulnerability or a tough time that they had or something that they went through.
If somebody in the group shares maybe a life changing diagnosis or something like that, where I mean, it didn't have to be that intense, but this was one of the examples that they showed in the study where that type of communication sharing, those personal details and emotional stories and experiences catalyzed the melding of the group. So it's something to consider.

All right. Another way to build the perfect team, establish group norms. So this is really interesting. This is all about thinking about what are the specific quirks of the group, what are the characteristics that the group has. And these are not features or personality traits. I mean, it can be, but we're really talking about norms here, which is things and protocols that the group does as a collective unit that establishes them as that group.

So for example, one of the norms that some of the groups had in the research that they found was that the group, let's say, started with telling jokes. At the beginning of the meeting, another group started by asking everyone how their weekend went and they shared their weekend or at the end of the week they talked about weekend plans.

The other group just got straight to business, right? That was a norm. They just didn't talk. Small talk just cut to the chase right down to business. Other groups had different norms. Right. So thinking about how can you establish some sort of norm here that brings the group closer together, that makes them feel like they belong to something?

That's what the group norm is. And so if you think about groups where you really have everyone collects, you all did well. You worked well together, a high performing team, you had norms. Think about what those norms were and it's not necessarily a situation where you can apply norms from one group and project them on to another group.

These have to sort of come out organically and naturally in order for them to be effective. So over time this happens, but starting to think about protocols and different norms that you might have that are specific to you and your group, that could be something worth exploring because research shows that group norms is a very important aspect of high functioning and high performing teams where everyone gets along and the job gets done and they're exceeding expectations and performing well.

All right. So those are some of the characteristics that can help you create an all star team, high functioning, high performing group. Keep in mind, these strategies and these ways of creating those teams, because this is something that we have to do in our every day. If you're on a team already or if you're building teams yourself for work or maybe in a scholastic setting, putting groups together, these are important considerations to have so that you can get more of the high functioning teams as opposed to the low functioning teams.

And maybe within the group that you have already, you can start to implement some of these strategies, group norms, conversational turn, taking psychological, social safety, high sensitivity, high IQ, collective IQ. There are a lot of ways to start to implement them, and over time you're going to see a huge change in the right direction. All right. Excellent. I thank you so much for joining me for this lesson. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did give a big thumbs up. If you're watching on YouTube and listening to Spotify, feel free to leave us a nice review. You can leave up to five stars and be sure to share the podcast on the channel because anyone who wants to improve their communication skills and social skills and level up at work and in your personal life as well.

And if English is not your first language, then you might be interested in our advanced English YouTube channel and podcast. We're on all the podcast platforms, and if you're listening to us specifically on Spotify, then I encourage you to leave us a nice review there. And you can also leave a nice comment in the Q&A, which is in the community Tabs activity.

Check that out for advanced English. You can also check out our website. So first, go to for the communication lessons. And then if you are interested in improving your English language and communication skills as a second language, English speaker, English learner, and you can check out Advanced English Co. And again, feel free to share these resources with anyone who you think would benefit from them.

All right. I will see you in the next Explearning lesson and perhaps even advanced English. Until then, keep up the awesome work and I will see you very, very soon. Happy Explearning everyone. 

About the Author and the Explearning Academy:

Mary Daphne is an expert in communication, executive interpersonal skills, and personal development. She is the founder of the Explearning Academy, a platform dedicated to helping individuals enhance their social fluency, boost their careers, and elevate their social game. Through immersive group coaching programs like the Executive Communication Lab and self-guided journeys, participants gain the social superpowers and career catapults they've been searching for. If you're ready to take your negotiation skills to the next level and connect with like-minded individuals, visit and explore the various plans available. Join the Explearning Academy community and unlock your full potential.

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