Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Project Aristotle – Understanding Successful Groups

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


March 14, 2016

Google is famous for expecting innovation to come from successful groups. Because that is so important to their work, they have put high levels of resources into investigating the qualities of effective teams in a study called Project Aristotle. Curiosity drove them to do factor analysis on such characteristics as putting introverts together, putting friends together, and putting diverse styles together. In their examination of the variables there were no clear patterns that emerged. As they dug into research on groups, the concept of group norms or patterns for ways of working emerged. This became the key that unlocked the mystery. By examining group norms, they found the answer. Two norms emerged as the most important factors to effective groups. Although Google’s language is different, the two norms live in the 7 norms of collaboration, part of the work of Adaptive Schools.

Take time this week to speculate with your colleagues what the two norms were that Google discovered were critical to group success. They will be revealed in the next two weeks of Sustaining the Thinking Collaborative Journey.