What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team

Like most 25-year-olds, Julia Rozovsky wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. She had worked at a consulting firm, but it wasn’t a good match. Then she became a researcher for two professors at Harvard, which was interesting but lonely. Maybe a big corporation would be a better fit. Or perhaps a fast-growing start-up. All she knew for certain was that she wanted to find a job that was more social. ”I wanted to be part of a community, part of something people were building together,” she told me. She thought about various opportunities — Internet companies, a Ph.D. program — but nothing seemed exactly right. So in 2009, she chose the path that allowed her to put off making a decision: She applied to business schools and was accepted by the Yale School of Management.When Rozovsky arrived on campus, she was assigned to a study group carefully engineered by the school to foster tight bonds. Study groups have become a rite of passage at M.B.A. programs, a way for students to practice working in teams and a reflection of the increasing demand for employees who can adroitly navigate group dynamics. A worker today might start the morning by collaborating with a team of engineers, then send emails to colleagues marketing a new brand, then jump on a conference call planning an entirely different product line, while also juggling team meetings with accounting and the party-planning committee. To prepare students for that complex world, business schools around the country have revised their curriculums to emphasize team-focused learning.Every day, between classes or after dinner, Rozovsky and her four teammates gathered to discuss homework assignments, compare spreadsheets and strategize for exams. Everyone was smart and curious, and they had a lot in common: They had gone to similar colleges and had worked at analogous firms. These shared experiences, Rozovsky hoped, would make it easy for them to work well together. But it didn’t turn out that way. ”There are lots of people who say some of their best business-school friends come from their study groups,” Rozovsky told me. ”It wasn’t like that for me.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/magazine/what-google-learned-from-its-quest-to-build-the-perfect-team.html

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