Assembling Teams - it IS Rocket Science

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Last year Google announced the "secret ingredients" for the perfect team and their research showed that people's talents are overrated when compared to their personalities.

Consider - each player pays two roles - a functional role, based on their talents and skills (think strokes, distances); but also a psychological role, based on the kind of person they are.

The best coaches know that some of the most talented teams teams fail because theres psychological synergy.  Instead, they focus as much on their personalities as on their talents.  Not only do they assemble the best breaststrokers, divers and distance swimmers.  They assemble teams with a variet of personalities including thos who are:

  • Results-oriented - confident, competitive and energetic people who naturally organize and take charge;.
  • Relationship-focused -  diplomatic and approachable, they are attuned to their teammates feelings, and are good at building cohesion
  • Rule followers - Reliable and organized, they pay attention to details and processes;
  • Innovators - Imaginative and curious (and oftentimes a pain in the butt), they tend to anticipate problems, and recognize when things need to change;
  • Pragmatic - Level-headed and prudent, they are practical, hard-headed challengers

The HBR article cites the teams that are being assembled to one day travel to Mars.  As Suzanne Bell explains, “…We assume that astronauts are intelligent, that they’re experts in their technical areas, and that they have at least some teamwork skills. What’s tricky is how well individuals combine.”

“…We assume that astronauts are intelligent, that they’re experts in their technical areas, and that they have at least some teamwork skills. What’s tricky is how well individuals combine.”

Team performance comes when individuals set aside individual interests to achieve something they can not do on their own.  What are ways you are doing to get the right mix of personalities?