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Google Finds the Secret to Happiness at Work

Google spent four years researching its teams to find the secret to their success. Turns out, the key to great teamwork is being nice.


Labeled Project Aristotle, the Google research study included interviews with hundreds of employees and analysis of data about the people on more than 100 active teams at the company to find out how it could transform productivity.

Google already makes employee happiness and motivation a top priority with countless offerings including free lunches, massages, haircuts, doctors, free legal advice, and even paying for employees to take courses.

Hoping to find a magic recipe for the perfect team, Google relized the answer was much more simple.

The best teams respect one another’s emotions and strive to get each member to contribute to the conversation equally. The elusive key to team success has less to do with who is in a team, and more with how the team’s members interact with one another.

The most successful teams had high "average social sensitivity." Amy Edmondson, a Harvard Business School professor, defines this as a "a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up."

Matt Sakaguchi, a midlevel Google manager, wanted to test out the findings of Project Aristotle’s findings. He told Charles Duhigg of The New York Times that he took his team off-site to open up about his cancer diagnosis. His confession was initially met with silence, but then colleagues began sharing their own personal stories.

Although Project Aristotle did not advocate making personal confessions, the Google exec realized that he needed his team to bond in order to create psychological safety.


Posted in General News



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