High Performing Teams: How Do They Interact?

Marcial Losada’s research team studied 60 business teams. They watched and listened and recorded whether team member’s interactions were 1) positive or negative, 2) self-focused or other-focused, and 3) based on asking questions (inquiry) or defending a point of view (advocacy).

Here was the breakdown:
• 25% of the teams met the criteria of high-performing. They achieved high scores on profitability, customer satisfaction ratings and evaluations by superiors, peers and subordinates.
• 30% scored low on all three business indicators and were floundering.
• The rest, the majority, had a mixed profile, doing well in some ways and poorly in others.

There were huge positivity ratio differences between the types of teams: high-performing had 6 positive to every one negative interaction. Mixed-performance teams had a 2 to 1 ratio and low performance teams were well below 1 to 1.

The researchers identified a variable called Connectivity — how much each team member influenced the behavior of the others, how attuned they were to each other.

High-performing teams also had higher connectivity and were equal in the balance of inquiry (asking questions) vs. advocacy (promoting their position or point of view) and outward vs. inward focus. Low-performing teams were low on connectivity and showed almost no outward focus.

Notice the types of interactions among the team members at your next meeting. How could things be improved?

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