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Just How Smart Is Your Team?

Image via iStock

We are fortunate to work in a flat organization here at Sköna. For this we can give thanks to our forward-thinking founder Jenny, who hails from Sweden where this practice is quite commonplace. It was something I discussed with another Swedish import we have aboard the Sköna ship, Gunilla. She explained to me that in Sweden, the head honcho isn’t unreachable or put on a pedestal like they tend to be here. Instead, everyone is encouraged to share their ideas, feedback, and thoughts -- meetings are fair game. Which is great. This conversation got me thinking about a New York Times article I read last month around this idea of effective group thinking. While some teams are smarter than others, what exactly makes them so?

Apparently, it’s not a high IQ average that distinguishes a smart team, but these three characteristics:

1) First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group.

2) Second, their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.

3) Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. Indeed, it appeared that it was not “diversity” (having equal numbers of men and women) that mattered for a team’s intelligence, but simply having more women. This last effect, however, was partly explained by the fact that women, on average, were better at “mindreading” than men.

I hate to toot our own horn, but it seems that we are already on the right track. And dare I say it, we make a damn smart team.

Source: NYT article, "Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others" (published January 16, 2015)

Boramy Khloth