What makes a team more than the sum of its parts? Its cohesion or connectedness, which allows for pooling of individual members’ strengths and compensates for their weaknesses. Accordingly, Google’s landmark Project Aristotle study found that the single most important driver of team performance was not the skills, intelligence or personality of a team’s members, but rather the quality of the team’s interactions and whether members felt psychologically safe.
The Covid-19 pandemic is perhaps the greatest threat to team connectedness we have ever seen. Colleagues who were mostly co-located – often literally within arm’s reach of one another – have been forced to disperse across cities, even countries. As we saw this occurring, we fretted for the future of these teams. Would close working relationships built up over months if not years simply be scattered to the four winds? To capture the effects in real time, we launched a survey back in June about how teams were being impacted by Covid. More than 500 professionals around the world responded.