What Makes a Team Smarter? It’s ridiculously simple

Written by Isabelle Larche

Managing Director, Recruitment & Executive Search at Timeo-Performance
Published on 10-12-2018
Smart Teams

This week a video was going viral in the French community, talking about the study at Carnegie Mellon and MIT on Collective Intelligence. You can find the English video of the Carnegie Mellon researcher as a BONUS at the end of this article.

Researchers were able to measure the intelligence of a group and identify the differentiating factor: the presence of women. The more women in a group, the higher the collective intelligence.

The individual IQ was a poor predictor how the group would fare. However, if more than half of the group are women, the team is performing better.


Women on average showed higher levels of listening skills, collaboration and social perceptiveness. These have a big impact on the dynamic of the group. Interestingly, the findings weren’t limited to face-to-face meetings. They were also applicable when team members met online.

These findings link back to this week’s Timeo Skills Circle event with Jean-François Cousin on “The DNA of Leadership shared by the most admired companies”. Jean-François showed how companies such as Google, Netflix and Apple share one important approach: the emphasis on Collaborative Leadership by embracing a Culture of Coaching. In today’s VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world, a new kind of leadership is needed to succeed by enabling employees and nurture the collective intelligence.

Inspired by this, I compiled for you articles on Coaching, Collaboration and Communication.

Set the conditions for anyone on your team to be creative

Creative TeamsThe secret to unlocking creativity is not to look for more creative people, but to unlock more creativity from the people who already work for you. The same body of creativity research that finds no distinct “creative personality” is incredibly consistent about what leads to creative work, and they are all things you can implement within your team. Read here what you need to do.

Why Your Ability to Achieve Dialogue Will Make or Break Your Results

Teams and DialogueWhen we think of leadership qualities, we rattle off platitudes like inspiring, dynamic, visionary, etc. While these characteristics are key building blocks of leadership, our latest research spotlights one common leadership aptitude that doubles as many leaders’ Achilles Heel—communication. And, we’re not talking merely about words and messages. Rather, we’re talking about a leader’s ability to achieve dialogue under pressure—to be calm, collected, candid, curious, direct, and willing to listen in crucial moments of impact.

How to collaborate with people you don’t like

collaborationA few months ago, a former client — let’s call her Kacie— called me to check in. I had supported her through her transition when she had joined a prestigious global financial services firm several months prior. Kacie confessed that she had a simple but serious problem: she wasn’t getting along well with a peer-level executive — let’s call her Marta. Kacie told me that it was becoming painfully clear that her inability to get along with Marta was going to impede her success, and possibly derail her career at the company. This article shares ideas and insights that almost anyone can use when they have to work with someone they just don’t like.

10 Leadership Strategies To Discourage ‘Groupthink’ On Your Team

Forbes Coaches Council“Groupthink” is a common corporate scenario in which multiple people feed off each other and ultimately come up with the same types of ideas. While collaboration and cooperation are good, your team will never innovate and grow if they never explore different ways of thinking and solving problems. It’s easy to fall into groupthinking patterns, especially when you’re focused on building a cohesive company culture. It’s important to recognize the signs of complacent group agreement and proactively work to reverse the ride.

BONUS: What makes one team smarter than another? | Anita Williams Woolley, Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Anita Williams Woolley, associate professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, shares why some teams are smarter than others and how “collective intelligence” is a key predictor of team performance.

People tend to focus on individual attributes when predicting team success, whether looking at hockey teams or presidential cabinets. Woolley argues that organizations need to look more closely at the value of collective intelligence and how team members perform together; her research shows that this is a much better predictor of team performance than individual IQ. Woolley finds that team diversity and social perceptiveness (the ability to pick up nonverbal cues from others) are critical ingredients of collective intelligence.

Her recommendations?
1) Set egalitarian norms when you’re convening a team; leave no room for stars or loafers. 2) Pay attention to the skills and collaboration abilities of the team and avoid hiring people who are particularly domineering or negative.

About Timeo-Performance

We were founded with a vision to improve the world of work for everyone.

Timeo-Performance has been helping companies assess, build and develop teams and talents in APAC since 2008. We are Recruitment, Training and Business & HR Performance experts and our priority is to help you grow and succeed. We understand your culture, organization and objectives and deliver outstanding results crafted for you. We thrive to bring best practices, innovative and integrated solutions with our selected partners: Akteos (intercultural management), CrossKnowledge (digital learning) and more.

We love what we do, feel the Timeo-Performance experience.

Timeo-Performance 150 Cecil Street #15-01 | Singapore 069543 | +65 6327 9218 | contact@timeo-performance.com | www.timeo-performance.com



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Isabelle Larche
Isabelle is a Human Performance expert, with over 10 years of professional recruitment experience, and 15 years of Business Management Consulting experience. Isabelle is the Vice President of the French Chamber of Commerce and Trade Counsellor (Singapore Chapter) to the French Embassy.

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