Managers have long believed that building high-performance teams is an art — not a science. But new research from MIT’s Human Performance Dynamics Laboratory has identified the factors that characterize high-performing teams. These factors are observable, quantifiable, and measurable.
The leading man behind the research is Alex “Sandy” Pentland. He is a professor at MIT, the director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program,and the chairman of Sociometric Solutions. He said, “The chemistry of high-performing groups is no longer a mystery.”
At MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory, they identified that great teams:
- Communicate frequently.
- Talk and listen in equal measure, equally among members.
- Engage in frequent informal communication.
- Explore for ideas and information outside the group.
They had deployed them in 21 organizations over the past seven years, measuring the communication patterns of about 2,500 people, sometimes for six weeks at a time.
In data collected by wearable electronic sensors that capture
people’s tone of voice and body language, they can see the
highly consistent patterns of communication that are associated
with productive teams, regardless of what kind of work
they do. The data do not take into account the substance
of communication, only the patterns, but they show that
those patterns are what matter most—more than skill, intelligence, and all other factors that go into building a team
In summary, great teams contribute energy, engage each other and explore out of the team.
For more details, you can download this report here: Building Great Teams.