Your Patterns of Communication are Key in Good Team Work

According to MIT research it turns out that the key to high team performance is not in the content of a team’s discussions…

It is the manner in which they are communicating. 

How do we know? MIT’s Professor Alex Pentland studied many teams equipping all team members with advanced electronic batches collecting sociometric behaviour (tone of voice, body language, who they interacted with, etc). The most important predictor of high team performance? Patterns of communication! This one factor is more significant than all other factors combined (individual intelligence, personality, skill, and substance of discussions).

Here’s what we should look for in high performance teams:


ENERGY: The number and the nature of exchanges among team members;


ENGAGEMENT: The energy distributed among team members (how do they communicate with one another); and


EXPLORATION: Team members engaging in communication outside their team.

The key to changing patterns of communication is remarkably simple (but not easy): Change comes through understanding the current ineffective pattern of communication. It turns out that once we know and recognize it we will adapt and improve.

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