5 Keys to Team Effectiveness Revealed by Google’s “Project Aristotle”
By Maggie Wilson @ Real Estate Daily
October 8, 2018

“Project Aristotle” is a fancy name for Google’s recent study on team effectiveness. A team at Google wanted to know what types of people and team dynamics make up the perfect team. They took a deep dive into team effectiveness and dynamics, studying a total of 180 teams (115 engineering project teams and 65 sales teams).

The results read like a hierarchy of needs for professional teams; real estate teams fit the bill perfectly. The most important of those needs, according to Google, is psychological safety. Teammates need to feel safe to take risks and appear vulnerable in front of each other.

Key Takeaways

  • Psychological safety: team members need to feel safe to take risks and appear vulnerable
  • Dependability: members should consistently finish projects and meet deadlines on time
  • Structure & clarity: members want to have clear roles, plans, and goals
  • Meaning: members want their work to feel personally important
Source: BoomTown!


A team at Google wanted to explore what types of people and qualities make up the “perfect” team. First, let’s take a look at how they measured “effectiveness.” The concept of effectiveness naturally varied between the executives, the team members, and the team leads. Executives were primarily concerned with results/numbers, team members were concerned with team culture, and team leads noted “ownership, vision, and goals,” as the most important measure. Combining all of these perspectives, the Google Team measured team effectiveness in the following four ways:

  • Executive evaluation of the team
  • Team leader evaluation of the team
  • Team member evaluation of the team
  • Sales performance against quarterly quota

The Results

The study ultimately defined these 5 concepts as the most important dynamics of effective team.


1. Psychological Safety

Real estate teams are a unique combination of teamwork and self-motivation. The best teams know how to work well together and leverage one another’s time and skills so that everyone performs better. However, at the end of the day, agents are closing their own deals, making their own commissions, and healthy competition is natural. Everyone wants to be the top producer.

Don’t let this healthy competition become toxic for your team! As a team leader, you have the ability to cultivate psychological safety. Here are a few strategies that you can implement:

  • Encourage compassion and open communication in the workplace by bringing the team together for social events or Monday morning “check-ins.”
  • Don’t skimp on positive feedback! It is your job to hold your team accountable, but remember that a little positive feedback goes a long way.
  • Create an environment of learning. Whether you have newbie agents, veterans, or both – it never hurts to keep learning. Encourage agents to attend conferences and trainings, and to share useful tips with one another.

2. Dependability

In a real estate team, dependability matters in two ways: internal, and client-facing.

Internal dependability: This means, all team members can depend on one another for pulling their weight, completing their tasks, and moving the business forward. If one agent goes on vacation and is relying on another to handle some lead follow-up, the agent on vacation can depend on their teammate to help out.

Client-facing dependability: Agents are not only the face of their own brand, but they are representatives of your real estate business. Agent Andy works for Beachfront Realty, and his leads don’t find him dependable. He disappears on Fridays, he takes too long to respond to emails and texts, and he was late for a showing.

As a team leader, if one team member is showing a lack of dependability, address it immediately. Maybe pay more attention to their lead follow-up, and hold them accountable for their workload. If the problem persists – they may have a negative effect on your team, and consider cutting them loose.

3. Structure & Clarity

The best work comes from clearly set goals. There is no lack of clarity surrounding what is expected from the very beginning. As a team leader, make sure that every member of your team understands the goals of the business, and that you understand their personal goals in real estate.

So how can you set clear expectations for your agents?

  • Require a minimum amount of prospecting each week. This could be X number of phone calls, or X number of hours prospecting.
  • Be crystal clear about your brand. Create a document that outlines how agents are expected to represent the business. Maybe it’s a dress code and general phone etiquette.
  • Be upfront from the beginning regarding how you measure agent performance. Do you track their activity in a CRM? Are there periodic performance reviews?

4. Meaning

Team members feel that their work is personally important. In a real estate team, this boils down to passion for what you do. Real estate is not an easy business! They say between 75-87% of agents fail or quit within the first year. The ones that succeed, are not only driven and motivated to be successful, but they tend to love what they do.

5. Impact

Human beings are driven by helping others. Luckily for you – real estate is an inherently positive exchange between client and agent. Agents are part of a big life decision, and they have the ability to help make it an enjoyable and memorable experience. Getting someone into their dream home is pretty special!

In order to further cultivate a sense of “impact” for your real estate team, consider ways that you can give back to the community.

  • Host an annual ‘Day of Service’ with a new charity each year
  • Sponsor a local organization or youth sports team
  • Pick an “awareness month” and donate a percentage of your profits
  • Participate in a charitable 5k

View the original article at BoomTown!