Back to Blog

Five Characteristics of the Most Successful Teams

Five Characteristics of the Most Successful Teams

What makes a successful team? Undoubtedly, there are many contributing factors. But which of them are most highly correlated with success?

A few years back, Google launched a major study (of course it did) to determine just that. What they found were five characteristics that distinguished the most successful teams.

1. Safety
For teams to excel, team members need to feel that it’s safe to voice their opinions, to disagree, and to take well-conceived “risks” in the name of experimentation. Fear of looking bad or, worse, fear of reprisal, inhibits the exchange of ideas and taking of initiative that might otherwise contribute to the team’s success.

2. Clarity
It seems almost silly to write this but, until it becomes automatic, it bears constant repeating: Teams need clear and concise goals. Success starts with knowing what must be accomplished by when. But that’s just the start. The critical step is to then “connect the dots” between the team’s goals and what is expected of each team member in support of those goals. Everyone needs to know specifically how they contribute.

3. Meaning
If goals make clear the “what by when,” meaning provides the “why.” A compelling meaning or purpose provides the motive force that drives a team to pursue and achieve goals.

4. Dependability
When I worked with The Atlanta Consulting Group, we would often talk about the “say:do” ratio. How often did you do what you said you were going to do? Successful teams have team members who are dependable. When they say they’re going to take action, they take action. That dependability builds trust and confidence throughout the team.

5. Belief
Finally, successful teams have a strong belief that they can and will make an impact.

Do you have a team? Create a safe environment. Provide clarity and meaning. Insist on dependability. Cultivate belief.

And do it consistently.

Make it happen.


P.S. Would you like to receive Make Strategy Happen resources (models, tools, videos, articles and more) direct to your inbox? Subscribe to our Making Strategy Happen resources here.

Privacy Preference Center


This website uses cookies to remember you and improve your experience. To find out more see our Privacy Policy

Facebook Pixels, Google Analytics