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Matt Sakaguchi on the Key to High Performing Teams at Google

| Podcast with Matt Sakaguchi Follow 0 Followers by Shane Hastie Follow 9 Followers on Jan 30, 2017 |

In this podcast Shane Hastie, InfoQ Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Matt Sakaguchi about his talk at QCon San Francisco 2016 and the research Google has done on what makes effective teams.

Key Takeaways

  • Psychological safety – people feel comfortable taking a risk or asking a question and know they will be supported by their team mates, they feel safe to share personal and “crazy” ideas
  • Dependability – the knowledge that team mates will deliver quality outputs and meet their commitments
  • Structure & clarity – the team has well defined roles and responsibilities, everyone knows what they are supposed to do and they do it
  • Meaning – the work has personal meaning to the individual team members
  • Impact – the team members can see the value they bring to the greater good through their work

0m:57s Introductions

1m:27s Key outcomes from the research by Julia Rozovsky into what separated effective teams from not so effective teams at Google

1m:50s Five attributes that separated effective teams from the rest:

1m:55s Psychological safety – people feel comfortable taking a risk or asking a question and know they will be supported by their team mates, they feel safe to share personal and “crazy” ideas

2m:45s Dependability – the knowledge that team mates will deliver quality outputs and meet their commitments

3m:05s Structure & clarity – the team has well defined roles and responsibilities, everyone knows what they are supposed to do and they do it

3m:25s Meaning – the work has personal meaning to the individual team members

4m:11s Impact – the team members can see the value they bring to the greater good through their work

4m:58s Highly dependable teams don’t need a lot of structure.   If a team is already dependable then adding structure can be detrimental, however if they are not yet a highly dependable team then structure improves effectiveness

5m:50s The difference between psychologically safe and unsafe teams – safe teams beat targets by 17%, unsafe teams missed their targets by 19%

6m:20s The link to psych safety is definitely causal – psych safety caused teams to be more effective

6m:54s Individual accountability matters and team outcomes are supported by high performing individuals

7m:54s Balancing individual goals with team goals – find the project which helps achieve both, and follow through on commitments when asking individuals to make tradeoffs

9m:13s The team will take care of you as long as you are giving your best effort to the team

9m:24s You must follow through on promises in order to have credibility

9m:47s How Google used to hire which resulted in “all-star” teams that are less effective than “championship teams” who understand the roles and support one another

11m:15s The San Francisco Giants as an example of a team who do well by being a cohesive unit rather than a group of all-stars

11m:44s What Google does to build psych safety on a team and overcome the “must look good” factor that supresses innovation and ongoing learning

12m:32s Creating a learning environment where you can ask each other lots of questions and collaborate to solve problems together

13m:05s Treat problems as learning problems not execution problems results in collaboration and learning increasing in a team

13m:17s Learning environments are exciting and people stay, in performance environments people burn out and leave

13m:38s Diversity does make a difference – diversity in many aspects, not just gender and ethnicity but also diversity of thought, creating an environment where everyone feels they can bring their whole self into work

14m:10s Example of how respect for different points of view changed the way some social activities were organized

14m:55s Being intentional about supporting diverse viewpoints and being inclusive is incumbent on leadership

14m:15s If people feel included and respected they will do better work

15m:35s Applying these ideas beyond Google.  See the Five Dysfunctions of a Team as an example of publicly available content.  The Google research confirmed a lot of the results from different studies done elsewhere.  

16m:20s Contrasting Matt’s experiences in the police department in a Patrol Team vs a SWAT team. (See his talk here)

Mentioned:

About QCon

QCon  is a practitioner-driven conference designed for technical team leads, architects, and project managers who influence software innovation in their teams. QCon takes place 7 times per year in London, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paolo, Beijing, Shanghai & Tokyo. QCon San Francisco is at its 11th Edition and will take place Nov 13-17, 2017. 100+ expert practitioner speakers, 1300+ attendees and 18 tracks will cover topics driving the evolution of software development today. Visit qconsf.com  to get more details.

More about our podcasts

You can keep up to date with the podcasts via our RSS Feed, and they are available via SoundCloud and iTunes.  From this page you also have access to our recorded show notes.  They all have clickable links that will take you directly to that part of the audio.

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