PKA is frequently called upon to work with executive/leadership teams in order to structure the organization for the future, install succession programs, enhance or refresh corporate strategy, design and implement change programs, improve organization performance and the like. Inevitably, we are asked the question, “what differentiates higher from lower performing executive teams?” Our typical response, entirely based on personal experience, includes such attributes as trust, effective team leadership, transparency in communication, good listening skills, effective collaboration and decision-making, and all those other “nice” team traits that inherently appear to make sense. Well, much of the work done at Google is done collaboratively by teams. The team is the molecular unit where real production happens, where innovative ideas are conceived and tested, and where employees experience most of their work. But it’s also where interpersonal issues, ill-suited skill sets, and unclear group goals can hinder productivity and cause friction. Following the success of Google’s Project Oxygen research where the People Analytics team studied what makes a great manager, Google researchers applied a similar method to discover the secrets of effective teams at Google. Code-named Project Aristotle – a tribute to Aristotle’s quote, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” (as the Google researchers believed employees can do more working together than alone) – the goal was to answer the question: “What makes a team effective at Google?” To find out those factors which are key and those that are not, read more here. You may find some of these surprising.