Google Project Aristotle: How to build more effective teams
Teams turns strategy into reality. In this article we focus on the inner workings of a team and what it takes to thrive as a business with healthy, happy and highly effective teams.
In May 2017 the Operations Team launched the first version of our core values. They were created using feedback we had received during our then monthly engagement survey (it’s now quarterly to allow us enough time to act on feedback received), and reflected a company culture we were working towards. We launched them with a bang at our company off-site, and integrated them into our weekly company catch up. They were also loaded into the Impraise skills and competencies library so people could use them to give feedback to each other.
Even though we were super excited about them, the reality was that six months later, they were already dying... We had scrapped our weekly catch ups, never integrated the values into the onboarding or recruitment process so new starters had never heard of them, and we hadn’t visualized them in our offices...
Fast forward to summer 2018 and we had completed our Series A funding which had lead to considerable growth, and were in the planning stages of our new brand. We were ready to give ourselves a second chance and take another look at our values.
We started with a four person think tank (our VP of Operations, Customer Success Manager, Brand & Marketing Director, and me as People Ops Manager) who looked at our original values and feedback we had received in our engagement survey, to identify areas of strengths and certain behaviors we wanted to focus on developing. We each did our own research and saw several common threads, which resulted in our first draft of four values:
We introduced these four values to our Strategic Leadership team who provided feedback, including a suggestion around the importance of creating work we were proud of. We then created a second draft, adding a fifth value:
We weren’t yet confident we had received enough input from a variety of Impraisers, so we brought together a diverse group of colleagues to get their feedback. Following that, we walked away very confident that our set of 6 values were a strong representation of Impraise behaviors.
Not wanting to overwrite the importance of the brand values, our Head of Brand & Marketing suggested we call our company values “The 6-pack”. Why? Because your 6-pack is at your core and if your core is strong then you perform better!
It’s well documented that change management needs to be supported by leaders in order to succeed and I didn’t want to launch something without the understanding and commitment of the leadership team. In order to do so, we ran a workshop during which we discussed the process and took a deep dive into each behavior. Each member of leadership was challenged to think of examples of successes and failures and whether there were already any role models in the company.
These are what we consider to be our guideline when it comes to actions, interactions, and - very importantly - decision making:
Overall this process took much longer than I expected as I had seriously underestimated the scope of the project. This is all part of the learning curve (#learnbydoing) as it was my first time leading such a project. With the power of hindsight, I now realize just how many steps it takes to do this effectively and ensure buy-in from everyone.
Your colleagues are your best collaborators and involving them early on will help you create a set of behaviors or values that truly represent your company. It’s also a simple way to demonstrate their opinion is valued and will ensure they are engaged and excited about the project.
My advice: don’t rush it! What you’re setting up is important and needs to properly reflect the company.
Download our helpful Guide on How to Evolve Your Company Culture to develop what is right for your organization.
Learn how to implement a successful culture change and reinforce it with feedback.