What´s best to solve a complex problem, a super-intelligent person or a group of people with an average intelligence?
In an experiment carried out by Woolley, Chabris, Pentland, Hashmi, & Malone in the USA published in 2010, they tried to answer this question. They put different groups of people to work in complex problems, and as they expected the difference between them was remarkable.
The best groups weren´t the ones which had more intelligent people among their members. Not even those which had the higher mean intelligence. The best teams were those who had a higher "Social Capital".
It´s been proved once and again: The intelligence of the group surpass the individual intelligence. The companies know that, that´s why they create teams to solve problems and innovate. But not every team performs identical. Hiring stars doesn´t guarantee that a group will perform better than other. Not even the intelligence of the members guarantee the succeed. We have to move the spot from the individual to the Social Capital.
What is Social Capital? and which characteristics have the talented teams?
Social Capital measures tha collaboration´s capacity between the individuals in a group. This enhanced collaboration´s capacity enhances the benefits for the members, either economic, affective, security or the own survival. The Social Capital depends on the affection, the mutual trust, the work rules of the group (implicit or explicit) and the intensity of the conection between them (For example, the time that they spend together).
The talented teams have a high Social Capital and share following characteristics:
Their members have a high degree of emphaty.
All of them participate equally, nobody captivates the speakers time. Everybody is important, and they pay attention to the inputs of everybody.
They are a long time together. A high rotation rate influences the group negatively. The trust and the affection bonds that are neccesary for a frank communication take time to take form. The teams with more than three years of common work are the ones that better work.
They have a common goal, clear and important for every member. Making that goal real is the primary incentive for the group, and is aligned with the individual incentives and prices.
They criticize ideas, not people.
They have set a high quality standard shared by all members of the group.
There are one or more people that act as connectort and vitalizer. They work keeping the team united solving conflicts, encouraging the timids, promoting social meetings and keeping the focus.
Among them there are women. The reason is not clear, but the results in the experiment leaved no doubt.
As a thumb rule, and depending on the task, there are between 4 and 9 members. Over 12 members the best strategy is to split.
The team is diverse, so the members can contribute with different points of view.
To form a high-performance team you need that all the members have the necessary knowledgeto work out the projekt, but moreover the empathy of each one of them is very important. The team needs time to unite, to confide in one another and to develope bonds (Ideally more than 3 years) and it´s very important the presence of women and members that act as connectors and vitalizers
In your company it is crucial to take the rigt person on board not only reckon with the curriculum, but her teamwork capacity. To do this there are test and psychological tools that can help. Once you have the members of your team, you have to work continually to unite them and keep the focus.