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

Sustaining the Journey

What Makes a Smart Team?

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


May 09, 2016

Woolley, Malone and Chabris have been exploring the characteristics that cause some teams to work smarter than others. They explored a variety of group tasks including logical analysis, brainstorming, coordination, planning, and moral reasoning. Contrary to what might seem intuitively so, it has nothing to do with the IQs of the team members, team members’ extroversion or level of motivation of team members to contribute. In addition, the characteristics of successful teams hold true whether the work is done in person or online.

So what are the characteristics? First, team member contributions are more equal than other groups. There is no domination by members. Second, members are more skilled in reading non-verbals as viewed in the eyes of others. Third, having a greater number of women than men contributed to team intelligence.

While we may not want to or be able to control the gender make-up of our teams, we can develop the other characteristics in our teams. How might you enhance the intelligence of a team you are a member of given this research? How do the principles and practices of Adaptive Schools and Cognitive Coaching enhance these characteristics?

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