Of course, you’re likely familiar with the myriad of individual personality and strengths assessments available to team leaders today. Think DISC, Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Leadership Circle, etc. These can all be valuable in understanding how our personalities or our strengths or most natural tendencies affect how we show up; with that understanding, we’re better able to pivot as needed to address whatever’s in front of us.

Less talked about and seemingly less researched, is what makes up the highest performing teams. We know that good teams tend to leverage the strengths of the individuals and value different perspectives. And we’ve heard that leadership is a great determinant of the success of the team. But what are the conditions under which teams tend to thrive?

I’m reading more about the concept of Collective Intelligence, and I’d like your thoughts on this, so please post comments.

By one definition, Collective Intelligence is shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration, collective efforts, and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision making. And some research indicates that the presence of Collective Intelligence (CI) can predict the future performance of groups and teams.

One resource I enjoyed on this topic is the Hidden Brain podcast episode titled: The Secret to Great Teams (https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/the-secret-to-great-teams/) with psychologist Anita Wooley.

In studying this concept, the research seems to point to certain conditions being present in the best of teams. Some takeaways in terms of building Collective Intelligence in a team include:

– Ensure gender and other types of diversity exist on the team. Great new ideas come from access to diverse perspectives. Make it safe and rewarding for everyone to participate.

– Be ultra-clear about outcomes; have everyone paddling in the same direction.

– Build a team which has the ability to be curious, study and learn; the ability to apply experience and learning from one area to another is a great asset for a team.

– Keep teams together for longer. Obviously, if there’s toxicity, you need to make a change but overall, teams learn together over time about how to become more effective and efficient.

– Finally, help people operate from their strengths and invite those unique strengths into the operation. The best teams are not made up necessarily of the best people in a field (although competency and brains really help), but rather when smart people with different strengths come together under a common goal.

So, I’d be eager to hear your thoughts on 1) what has some teams performing so much better than others? and 2) does this concept of Collective Intelligence resonate with you?