There are so many amazing articles over at 99U....and so little time to read them all.
In this past week’s email “issue” alone they’ve got an interview with font god Erik Spiekermann, a post on “Embracing Disorder and Spontaneity,” and have marketing advice from author Mike Sager.
We thought we’d save you some time by cherry picking and boiling down what we thought was one of the best posts: “9 Facts Every Creative Needs to Know About Collaborative Teams” by Dr. Christian Jarrett, a psychologist and the writer behind the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest blog.
Jarrett outlines the psychology behind what it takes to “turn a group of individuals into a cohesive team unit.” Essentially the science behind getting the best you can out of your creative team.
We’ll outline the top points, but if your interest has been piqued, be sure to read the article in full over at 99U.
But don’t blame us if you end up reading all the rest of the articles, too.
1. THE MERE PRESENCE OF OTHER PEOPLE CAN BOOST YOUR PERFORMANCE
That’s right, even if a team is working on individual projects, they’ll perform better if they’re working near each other. The study also showed how the energy of others can also act as a substitute team even if you’re working solo. Which might explain why we can get so much done at a coffee shop.
2. A FAMILIAR TEAM HAS THE BENEFITS OF A HOME STADIUM
When you work with the same people day in and day out, you’re intimately familiar with their strengths and weaknesses, their tastes, and their communication styles (e.g., Barb doesn’t like it when people chat her on Slack when she’s on a conference call. Molly likes to eat her lunch in peace). This familiarity adds up to a smoother creative process, as you don’t have to dodge all those “new staff member” social gaffes.
3. VIRTUAL TEAMS CAN OUTPERFORM FACE-TO-FACE TEAMS
A research team assessed the performance of 80 software companies around the world and found that more dispersed teams often outperformed “co-located” teams (ones working in the same shared space). The caveat is that the remote teams need to have processes in place to ensure each member contributes fully, which must to include adequate support and communication.
4. A BALANCE OF EXTROVERTS AND INTROVERTS MAKES FOR A BETTER TEAM
Even though extroverts tend to grab the spotlight, the introverts also shine, if given the opportunity (which takes cultivation). The takeaway is that you need both personality types to create a high performing team.
5. MOST GOOD TEAMS HAVE ONE ANALYTIC THINKER ON BOARD
A 30,000 foot view is nice, especially when you’re brainstorming ideas, but when it comes to get down to “brass tacks” you need to have someone who ensures a process gets in place to actually make things happen.
6. TEAMS PERFORM BETTER WHEN THEY INCLUDE BOTH MEN AND WOMEN
Whether it’s on the board of directors or on a creative team, research indicates having a good mix of both men and women always produce better results.
7. THERE’S A DANGER OF TEAMS SPLITTING INTO SUB-GROUPS
Yes, larger teams will inevitably split into smaller groups of like-minded friends, but a study found that multidisciplinary teams produced better quality innovations than more homogeneous ones. Once again, there’s a caveat: processes need to ensure all team members feel listened to, there is always plenty of open communication, and that the team needs to reflect on its own performance.
8. EFFECTIVE TEAMS DEPEND ON “SOCIAL SENSITIVITY”
“Collective intelligence” isn’t based on the average of everyone on the team’s IQ score, but on the way team members take turns speaking during conversations. This characteristic is called “social sensitivity.” Team mixes with more women do score higher than those with more men. (Just telling you what the study says!)
9. THE BEST TEAMS COMMUNICATE OUTSIDE OF FORMAL MEETINGS
Researchers at MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory found conversations outside of formal meetings are the most important factor that contributes to team success. That means teams who go on impromptu coffee outings, have more formalized outings, play beer pong, etc.