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What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team

What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team
So Rozovsky started looking for other groups she could join. A classmate mentioned that some students were putting together teams for ‘‘case competitions,’’ contests in which participants proposed solutions to real-world business problems that were evaluated by judges, who awarded trophies and cash. The competitions were voluntary, but the work wasn’t all that different from what Rozovsky did with her study group: conducting lots of research and financial analyses, writing reports and giving presentations. The members of her case-competition team had a variety of professional experiences: Army officer, researcher at a think tank, director of a health-education nonprofit organization and consultant to a refugee program. Despite their disparate backgrounds, however, everyone clicked. They emailed one another dumb jokes and usually spent the first 10 minutes of each meeting chatting. It always struck Rozovsky as odd that her experiences with the two groups were dissimilar. Photo

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13 Ways to Encourage Conflict at Work Have you sabotaged your team’s results by playing peace-keeper? While no one wants to spend their time in a hostile work environment, a certain amount of conflict is healthy. It’s the friction that creates the fire. If you give your people permission to disagree respectfully, they’ll come to better solutions, solve more problems, and spot more gaps than they would if playing nice was their highest priority. Here are 13 ways to encourage healthy conflict at work.

How to practice effectively...for just about anything - Annie Bosler and Don Greene One of the first professionals to scientifically study habit formation was the world-renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Maxwell Maltz who wrote Psycho-Cybernetics in 1960. Maltz discovered that it takes a minimum of 21 days to form new habit patterns. He said, “These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.” How long does it take to become an expert?

The secret ingredient that makes some teams better than others Running a software company in Boston, I recognized — and my board told me — that we needed to reposition the business. Our product was too bland, too generic to stimulate excitement or loyalty. I needed a team to help me, and I ended up working through the problem with a motley crew: a young web developer, a seasoned and eccentric media executive, a visual artist, and me. We spent a week in the private room of a burger joint, exploring options, rejecting easy answers, pushing one another to find something none of us could see. Looking back, I recall that intense period as one of the most thought-provoking learning experiences I’ve ever had.

Eight Tips for a Great Teacher Letter of Recommendation Hey high school teachers! Today, we're talkin' teacher recs. This is actually the first time I've ever written a blog to this group of unsung heroes in the college application process. While I have never been a teacher myself, I can imagine that there are plenty of teachers who view writing countless recommendations as a pretty daunting task to add on top of your already full plates. This blog should shed some light onto what colleges are looking to glean from your letters and how you can write effective and informative letters on behalf of your students. First off, I think it's important to mention that the vast majority of teacher recommendations we get are fantastic.

✔ Effective Communication in a Team - part 1: my 5 general rules Note: This article is based on my Editor’s note from the 11th issue of the Polish edition of the Productive! Magazine. Being extremely happy with the changes that we've implemented by the end of last year in the Nozbe team, I often think that there are still things that can be improved. For example... communication. Between individual departments (e.g. customer service - programmers), between heads of departments and, of course, between me and each of my employees. 27 Questions To Ask Instead Of “What Do You Do?” I love the little traditions that develop organically at Buffer. One of them is to welcome each new teammate with a long email chain of happiness that begins with that person’s introduction. More often that not, the introduction has a certain ratio: 1 part what this person will do for Buffer and has done for work in the past 2 parts who this person is in the world—a mom, a breakdancer, an ex-Marine I love this 1:2 ratio because it speaks to a simple truth we strive to recognize as a team: We are more than our jobs.

✔ Effective Communication in a Team [part 2]: my 7 rules for improving interpersonal relations In my last article on communication I've discussed about my 5 general rules of communicating within a team. We talked about the importance of being prepared, of writing clearly, choosing the right communication channel... and also body language.. and even spicing it up with emoticons or memes. Now let's talk about the importance of building strong interpersonal relations with your team in order to communicate even better. As you know, my entire Nozbe team works remotely - we all work from home. That's why we decided to have an all-company meeting in person every 6 months. MITx u.lab: Education As Activating Social Fields Until last year, the number of students in my classes at MIT numbered 50 or so. Less than twelve months later, I have just completed my first class with 50,000 registered participants. They came from 185 countries, and together they co-generated: • >400 prototype (action learning) initiatives • >560 self-organized hubs in a vibrant global eco-system • >1,000 self-organized coaching circles. What explains the growth in group size from 50 to 50,000? It’s moving my class at MIT Sloan to the edX platform, making it a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). Designed to blend open access with deep learning, the u.lab was first launched in early 2015 with 26,000 registered participants.

The Work Required to Have an Opinion “I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.” — Charlie Munger While we all hold an opinion on almost everything, how many of us do the work required to have an opinion? The work is the hard part, that’s why people avoid it. Google Finds That Successful Teams Are About Norms Not Just Smarts Which Google employees has made the biggest impact to the company over the past decade? Besides the familiar choices of Larry and Sundar, I’d nominate Google’s outgoing CPO Laszlo Bock. Under Laszlo’s direction Google’s hiring and management assumptions have been challenged by real data, resulting in transformative shifts such as *not* assuming college test scores are a predictor of success as a Googler. Another important question was “What makes a team successful (or not)?”

We agree it’s WEIRD, but is it WEIRD enough? The most recent edition of Behavioral and Brain Sciences carries a remarkable review article by Joseph Henrich, Steven J. Heine and Ara Norenzayan, ‘The weirdest people in the world?’ The article outlines two central propositions; first, that most behavioural science theory is built upon research that examines intensely a narrow sample of human variation (disproportionately US university undergraduates who are, as the authors write, Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic, or ‘WEIRD’).