Philippines’ Top HR Blog

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How He Hires – Richard Branson’s Top Tip

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By Yvonne Manzi
Guest Writer, University of London

I’ve discussed before the importance of good hiring practices, as a bad hire can cost an organization hefty losses in time, money and resources. These can vary of course – based on your organization’s needs and culture, on your own personal hiring style and interviewing techniques, they can vary for many reasons. There is one thing, however, which you should not overlook, and that is applicable to all organizations – personality. British business magnate Richard Branson, in an article he posted on LinkedIn, writes:

“The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture. Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner.”

“Personality is the key. It is not something that always comes out in interview – people can be shy. But you have to trust your judgement. If you have got a slightly introverted person with a great personality, use your experience to pull it out of them. It is easier with an extrovert, but be wary of people becoming overexcited in the pressure of interviews.”

“Some managers get hung up on qualifications. I only look at them after everything else. If somebody has five degrees and more A grades than you can fit on one side of paper, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right person for the job. Great grades count for nothing if they aren’t partnered with broad-ranging experience and a winning personality.”

So take it from Richard Branson, who built an empire that only continues to grow. When hiring new employees, look for transferable skills, and bring out the personality in them.

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Bad Hiring – What Exactly Went Wrong

By Jabrielle Vincee Delfin
Marketing Associate, Profiles Asia Pacific

I know of an employee who we all thought would make a great sales person. He has the charisma, the intelligence and the personality. He started out great on the phone, could source new clients and set up meetings. He could’ve stayed longer on the job, but he didn’t. He wasn’t a ‘fit’. The job he truly wanted, his ‘dream’ job, was in something else, not selling. He was willing and able to sell, but he’d rather not do it. We had a bad hire, and a problem. Poor job fit is the very reason most people fail at a job.

Companies use up so much time and resources making sure they’re hiring the right talents, but most totally fail when it comes to organization and job fit. I wouldn’t blame them, organizational fit is not so easy to determine.  You can make your own assessment; do basic interviewing, etc. But you’re almost always going to miss the target.

Peter Druckker said that “chances are good that up to 66% of your company’s hiring decisions will prove to be mistakes in the first 12 months.” And these mistakes were not made on purpose, it happened because there wasn’t enough information, and the time wasn’t enough, and the process of evaluation wasn’t there, to obtain it. The information we’re looking for is ‘Job fit’. According to the Harvard Business Review, the “job matching” approach more accurately predicts job success than any of the commonly accepted factors such as education, experience or job training.

Have you ever stated ‘pPoor Job Fit’ as a reason for termination on your exit interview forms?  My guess is never.  Every time we think of using “Poor Job Fit” as a reason, we don’t. Because what that means is we don’t do our jobs well. And the ugly truth is – poor job fit is probably the reason for most employee terminations.  The skills you wanted are there, but the job you have doesn’t use or need most of those skills.  The job you have doesn’t meet the expectation set by the candidate, and the job you have isn’t really the job the candidate wants.

Most companies do not have assessments that measure job fit, but job fit is the key to retention – not skills.  Skills are trainable, but behaviour isn’t. You can’t train a person to want to do the job that he doesn’t want to do, or is not interested in doing. Like the sales person I know, although with great skills, he didn’t want to be a sales person so he turned out to be a terrible one. With the “job matching” approach, recruiters can determine if the person they are hiring wants to do the job that they’re asked to do, or simply put, if they have the ‘Job fit’.

So if you want to avoid bad hires and the cost that comes with it, make sure you incorporate job matching assessments into your recruitment process. Cause if you’re unable to determine job fit, it’s either you will always be terminating employees, or they will eventually be resigning.

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6 Tips for a Happy Intern Experience

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By Yvonne Manzi
Guest Writer, University of London

It is not uncommon for an organization to hire interns but not carefully plan out their stay within the company. This results in unhappy employees, unhappy interns, and a waste of time and resources on both ends. In order to make sure both you and your interns make the most out of your working relationship, follow a few simple tips.

1. Assign them to a supervisor

Yes, interns will normally be adults who have graduated and are thus responsible for themselves. However, they will have little working experience, and no experience in your company, so it is a good idea to guide them with a supervisor at first. It can be overwhelming and they do not want to feel abandoned.

2. Do make use of their skills and talents

It is easy to assume that because they have little to no experience, they cannot handle real working challenges or haven’t developed enough skills. However, you would be surprised to find out that with just a little bit of guidance most interns will show how capable they are. They will often bring a fresh and younger take on your company which you should not ignore.

3. Make it a learning experience for them

An intern is not an employee and thus is not rewarded by the same benefits. The most important reward they will gather (and the reason they applied for an internship in the first place) is learning from this job. Your working relationship goes both ways and you should therefore make sure you give back to them – they should always be learning in everything they do for you.

4. Make them do valuable work, not just ‘busy work’

This ties into the previous two points. Too many companies make the mistake of using interns as secretaries. They are qualified individuals, with an array of skills, who are there to work for you and learn from you.

5. Include them in your team and company culture

A young intern is very likely to feel out of place in your organization as they are newcomers who are not fully hired and may not end up staying for longer. They are, nevertheless, part of your body of employees and should therefore be treated as such. Do not omit inductions, do not omit them from team meetings and team nights, introduce them to everyone and make them feel like they do belong. They will feel much more at ease and be more likely to be proactive.

6. Ask for feedback at the end of the internship period

Upon their leaving, do ask them for their opinion on the general experience at the company so that you can take on any suggestions for future improvement.

What would you add to this list? Have you had any experiences with past interns, or concerns with future ones, that you would like to share? You can find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!

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Extreme Hiring Tactics – Read Them to Believe Them!

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By Yvonne Manzi
Guest Writer, University of London

We know the losses in time, money and resources that can be caused by a bad hire. It is no wonder, then, that some organizations will go to great lengths in order to find the right people. An article on recently compiled four of the wackiest hiring tactics by companies. You might get inspired by these pioneers in hiring – sometimes the obvious, clear-cut route isn’t the most effective one. Read on and let us know what you think!

Hiring Tactics

1. Vote Early; Vote Often. “Firing fast never works,” says Dane Atkinson, CEO and co-founder of SumAll, a New York City-based business analytics firm. That’s why Atkinson puts every employee through a 45-day trial period. Each applicant is assigned an on-staff sponsor and gets regular assessments from a dedicated selection committee.

At the end of the trial, if the selection committee approves a candidate, SumAll’s entire 35-person team puts the matter to a vote. One veto, and the candidate goes home. About 30 percent of applicants don’t pass. Atkinson admits this Survivor-style approach intimidates plenty of applicants and requires an intense time commitment from employees, “but the meta effect is better,” he says: In two years, only one employee has left the company. “It sets employees up for success,” he says, “because there’s such close attention paid to them in those early days.”

2. Trial by Rejection. Salespeople need to be able to handle rejection on a daily basis. So when Rob Rawson hires salespeople for his remote staffing company,, he starts by turning them down. After initial interviews, Rawson calls the candidates he wants to hire and tells them he doesn’t think they have what it takes. About 75 percent of applicants accept the rejection outright or become overly defensive–and thereby fail the test. On the other hand, the 25 percent who fight to make their case tend to be golden. “You get to see whether a salesperson is able to overcome rejection and sell themselves with a real-life example, rather than a theoretical question,” he says.

3. Make It Like a Reality Show. Potential hires are used to selling themselves, but it’s what they’re willing to say about other applicants that John DeHart finds truly revealing. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Nurse Next Door, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based franchiser of home care services. The company conducts group interviews to make the hiring process faster and assess candidates for cultural fit.

After asking the usual questions about strengths, weaknesses, and the like, DeHart and his staff conclude each interview by asking the applicants which of their rivals they would hire. Many choose the weakest candidates, which suggests to DeHart that they are threatened, rather than inspired, by top performers. “ ‘Admire people’ is one of our core values,” he says, “so we’re looking for someone who will point to the top person in the room and honestly say why they would hire him.”

4. A Bounty on Their Heads. The Nerdery, a Web design firm in Bloomington, Minnesota, hires about 25 percent of its employees from internal referrals. But last year, the company was growing so quickly that hiring became a bottleneck. Co-founder Mike Derheim needed a bigger applicant pool, and fast. So the company took out ads offering to pay the public to refer good developers. The Nerdery rewarded people with $100 if their candidates landed an interview and $400 if they got hired.

More than 700 referrals came rolling in, along with another 900 applicants who heard about the campaign and applied on their own. The company did 600 interviews and spent around $30,600 on rewards. Of those 600, 33 developers were hired, which Derheim says is just slightly lower than the company’s typical acceptance rate. “It was more risk than a lot of companies are willing to take on,” he says, “but when hiring is our No. 1 constraint, it’s definitely worth the investment.”

So what is the most extreme hiring tactic you have undertaken or are thinking of undertaking? Do you plan on trying out new methods?

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Sleep Your Way to the Top

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By Yvonne Manzi
Guest Writer, University of London

In this short and quirky TED talk, Arianna Huffington attacks the trending culture of sleep deprivation as a way of being more productive and reaching success. We should, she says “literally sleep our way to the top”, because a sleep deprived person is not a productive person. Being terribly busy and fitting an unthinkable number of activities within a day may give us a feeling of accomplishment and productivity, but in the long run will drain us of energy, pace and creativity – all traits that are key to the successful individual.

Can’t sleep well? Here are a few simple tips to help you get those extra Z’s at night.

1. Keep regular hours so you can have a set body clock
2. Create a restful and pleasant sleeping environment
3. Exercise regularly (but not before bedtime!)
4. Make sure your bed is clean and comfortable (keep it tidy)
5. Tone down the caffeine – even if you drink it in the morning, it upsets your natural balance
6. Don’t overindulge in caffine, smoke, food or alcohol
7. Write away your worries – keep a journal so you don’t mull everything over before bedtime

…and if all else fails, don’t drink liters of coffee but learn to nap! A 20 minute nap can completely revive you.

So take it from Arianna, “the way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting more sleep.”

See the TED talk here: How to Succeed? Get more sleep.

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Strategic HR

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Article written by Sherry Perkins, Profiles International

Our friends at Profiles International recently posted this very true and interesting article on the strategic role of HR within an organization. Let us know what you think about this – you can find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Examining your seat at the table…

The strategic role of Human Resource Management (HRM) has never been more prevalent as a topic of discussion among HR managers, OD professionals, and senior executives. Nearly every business and professional magazine or scholarly journal features an article that focuses on the strategic influence of human resource management and its effect on the achievement of business results. Few would refute the importance of an organization’s most valued asset: human capital.

Nor would many argue with the essential contribution of those who specialize in the acquisition and optimization of this most valued asset. Yet, the seemingly unspoken resolution that human resource management takes a secondary, if not tertiary, seat of importance at the business table is in direct conflict with the presumptions of the critical role of HRM.

How many of us have been brought to the strategy table long after the business strategy has been determined? Perhaps we have joined the meeting on the last day, to hear the strategy and to be given a directive to hire and onboard a team to support the strategic direction. How many have been excluded from the strategic planning process all together, but rather were sent an email that asks us to develop a communications plan to articulate that strategy to the company-at-large? Most of us have encountered at least one of these occurrences, and may feel that our contribution to the business strategy and direction has been less than influential.

In truth, strategic talent management is a critical business component of strategic business planning, in and of itself. The dynamics of global business management, cultural influences, political and economic factors, intercontinental influences, generational issues, open systems management, and team leadership make the focus on human capital essential for organizational sustainability and growth. What mindset, then, is at the base of flawed thinking that human resource management is merely a support role to the real work of business?  How is it that the business mission, vision, and direction may be documented without any concrete discussion regarding the people resources that will translate that mission, vision, and direction into reality?

There is little doubt that HR managers, HR professionals, OD experts, and talent management specialists are more knowledgeable of people systems and processes than ever before.  We are highly trained, well read, experienced, and certified in every aspect of talent management.  Our learning is intentional, directional, and focused. We are experts in our field and recognized for our craft by each other and by leaders outside our discipline. What more could be desired to take our rightful seat at the table of decision makers?

The not-so-simple answer is that we must understand the businesses with which we intend to integrate. The executives want to know that we “get it” – that we understand the business we are in and can be trusted with ensuring its long-term sustainability. We really cannot fully support what we do not fully understand, and even if we could, we may not be viewed as credible. We must be able to articulate the business direction, the potential inhibitors and enhancers to progress (both internal and external), the trends in the industry, as well as what must be done to remain competitive.  We must learn the language of the industry and the metrics that define success.We must substantially contribute to discussions outside our immediate vernacular.

We must offer proactive HR/OD solutions that are fully integrated into business strategy, so they are not seen as add-ons or “personnel programs”. No executive will trust his/her business to those who are only tangentially connected – we must be all in. Want to be invited to the business table? Bring the meat!

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Profiles Asia Pacific, Inc. to hold its 1st Talent Assessment and Development Conference

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By Jabrielle Vincee Delfin
Marketing Associate, Profiles Asia Pacific

The leader in online assessments in the country, Profiles Asia Pacific, Inc. will hold its first ever international conference in the country entitled “ITADC: International Talent Assessment and Development Conference”.

In collaboration with Profiles International, the conference aims to help organizations provide positive, sustainable solutions to the most pressing issues in the workforce, and help take talent management to the next level. As a leader in providing up to par HR solutions, Profiles Asia Pacific, Inc. gives importance to the development of talents by bringing their passion, expertise and resources and commitment to greatly contribute to each organization.

The Talent Assessment and Development Conference features two days of presentations focused on renewing individual and organizational vitality and preparing for the future of recruitment with topics such as Filipino benchmarking, career planning, building a competency framework and creating a coaching culture. One of the highlights of the said event is the certification training. At these sessions, clients receive in-depth training that outlines all elements of the science behind assessments. Attendees learn how to use the products for maximum impact in their own organizations for activities such as benchmarking positions within the company and training and developing their employees.

The conference boasts noted industry experts, both local and foreign. Senior-level HR executives from some of the country’s most prominent organizations and industries are expected to gather for this year’s event.

Taking place December 4-6, 2013 at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City this year’s conference is designed to give attendees a more in-depth educational experience to help bring new ideas and plans to the attendees’ organizations.

Take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity and be part of history; for more details visit the event website

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Coaching New Employees: The Challenge and How to Face It

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By Jabrielle Vincee Delfin
Marketing Associate, Profiles Asia Pacific

New employee orientation and job-specific training serve important purposes.  Coaching, however, is a critical key that is set aside unfortunately once too often. Coaching new employees can be a hard task. As their supervisor you often have little information about the new employee’s strengths and weaknesses and probably know less about their behavioural tendencies, reactions to stress, or other personality characteristics. These latter traits could give you an idea about potential performance issues and their solutions. This awkward position invariably causes a loss of productivity and must negatively impact turnover. Anyone in HR knows the cost that comes along with turnover. The problem – information deficit, the challenge – how to acquire it.

There are three steps in helping your new employees get engaged:

1. Find out the employee’s expectations of the job. Whenever a new employee is hired, always address any questions or confusion the individual may have about the job. Find out whether the job is what really interests the individual. To help confirm or clarify the employee’s perspective of the job expectations, review together a copy of the job description, department’s goals, and company’s goals.

2. Learn about the employee’s expectations for professional growth. Some employees work for just the pay check, and some have specific professional development interests and ambitions. Recognizing and gathering relevant resources to help support and build a plan for each individual’s interests help strengthen employee loyalty.

3. Give feedback about the employee’s performance. Consistent and constructive feedback becomes effective when focused on raising awareness and on improving performance results.

Employee coaching usually involves the managers and employees meeting regularly to discuss and explore each employee’s career goals and development.  But basically that would just take a lot of time and effort. Other companies would incorporate assessments into their recruitment process – assessments that provide supervisors with concise description/discussion on jobfit issues the new employee is likely to have. One of the assessments doing this is the Profile XT – a tool with many reports provided for many different purposes. The language in the report provides flags areas in job related language that should be reviewed with the employee so they know before they start that some elements of the job will be more challenging for them. This “preventative coaching” is more likely to be well received because it occurs before a performance issue has surfaced. The supervisor can be the good guy by providing helpful advice about challenges the employee needs to know about going in to the job.

Always know the direction you need to take your business and the talent you need to make it happen.  Each employee should come out of every formal and informal coaching meeting with a strong picture of both the specific performance goals to achieve and how his or her contributions impact the department and the company as a whole.  When you make the time to commit towards helping develop your employees, you not only make an important understanding of how much you expect them but also an important impression of how much they are being valued.

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Strategies to Measure and Utilize Your Social Media Presence

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By John Pick
Guest writer, Profiles Asia Pacific

Social media has taken the world by storm and has quickly become an essential networking and recruiting tool. For job and internship seekers, it’s important to keep up with the latest technology by learning how to use social media sites to your advantage.  For entrepreneurs and recruiters it’s important to determine which social media platform aligns with your objectives. For example, if you’re a business-to-business brand marketing an upcoming conference, you’ll want to consider LinkedIn.

#1: Engage in Social Media Listening

In this case, “listening” refers to the act of actually listening to your follower’s post rather than just shooting off posts of your own throughout all your social media networks. Listening is one of the most often overlooked uses of social media, yet it’s probably the most important. If you’re not listening to your customers, you’re missing the point of social media.

For example, Twitter provides powerful search tools that allows you filter through tweets about your company. These tweets come from people who are already customers or potential customers. Monitor their tweets on a daily basisEngage with them, answering their questions, adding value and helping them whenever possible.

Twitter is an amazing tool for providing real-time customer service. You can learn things like:

  • Exactly how many people you’re helping
  • If you’re growing that number of people
  • The issues customers are experiencing with your business
  • What’s broken in your business

#2: Create a Rating System for Your Social Engagements

This is a simple yet effective strategy to use when you’re trying to generate awareness and buzz. It’s a smart way to measure the response to your efforts on Facebook, Twitter or any other social channel you’re using.

The technique is a simple one. Using Facebook as an example, whenever you post an update on your page; whether it’s a photo of an upcoming product, or a status promoting an upcoming event, keep track of how many likes, comments and shares and assign a point value for each one.

Likes show support and comments indicate a deeper interest but shares are most valuable because they move the update beyond your page.

During a campaign, a quick sum of values will help you determine if your efforts on Facebook are moving you closer towards your goal or not.

#3: Use Your Social Media to Add Value, Then Sell and Measure

The strategy comes from providing great content that influences your client’s values before asking for the sale. Social Media provides great opportunities for you to accomplish this.

For example, say your restaurant is rolling out a new healthy menu. You develop various social media pages under systems such as Facebook and Twitter for posting pictures of your visually appealing dishes. However, these systems allow you to create content around the importance of healthy eating and curate information on your Facebook Page about farmers’ markets in your area. You can even reference blogs by other people outlining the importance of healthy food.

You offer this content to build trust with people.

Then offer a coupon for your restaurant on your Facebook Page. The number of people who claim and redeem your coupon is a result you can quantify.

For more information check out Rick Mulready’s article at

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10 Steps to Assembling a Formidable Team

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By Yvonne Manzi
Social Media Officer, Profiles Asia Pacific

Teams are one of the most important components of, well, everything. They are the ones who “fight the foes no single hero can withstand”, or simply the ones who come up with the best ideas and solutions.

Great teams are not all about intelligent members – they work on chemistry. You can put the smartest people together in a room but if they are all too similar, or if they don’t connect on a human level, you won’t achieve the results you need. There are a number of psychological dynamics that occur between individuals which need to be understood before you can match the right people into effective teams.

PsyBlog recently compiled various findings on the subject from the past few years, and came up with 10 exteremely insightful points that you should keep in mind when creating a team.

1. Prioritise social skills

Surely if you want to build a fantastic group, you put the smartest people in a room together? Not necessarily.

According to research conducted by Woolley et al. (2010), highly performing groups need social sensitivity.

So it’s not about putting all the biggest brains together, it’s thinking about the social dynamic. Who will listen to others? Who will share criticism constructively? Who will have an open mind? Whose will back other people up?

2. Mix genders

Since women’s social skills tend, on average, to be a little stronger than men’s, including women is one way of prioritising social skills.

Woolley et al.’s study reached the same conclusion: teams which included women did better than men-only teams.

But that doesn’t mean you should take it to the logical extreme and build women-only teams: it’s all about the mix. For example, Hoogendoorn et al. (2011) found that teams with equal gender mixes outperformed male-only and female-only groups in a business exercise.

3. Build trust

It’s very hard for people to work together effectively if they don’t trust each other. They also have to appear trustworthy to others or it may be difficult for them to do their job.

Teams that appear more trustworthy (hopefully because they are!) have been shown to perform better when negotiating with other groups (Naquin & Kurtzberg, 2009). After all, would you do business with a team you don’t trust? Not if you can avoid it.

The problem is that in groups people perceive the trustworthiness of the group by assessing the least trustworthy member.

So, in terms of trustworthiness, one bad apple really can spoil the bunch.

4. Use humour

If a group members don’t seem to trust each other, then perhaps it’s humour that’s missing. One study by Professor William Hampes has found that people whose sense of humour is stronger are rated more trustworthy by others (Hampes, 1999).

Similarly, when group dynamics are strong, people start joking around together and will tend to talk to each other outside work. Humour can be a signal that groups are getting along and can even help create that buzz that makes some groups so great to work in.

Humour has all sorts of benefits including reducing stress, boosting creativity, communication and team cohesiveness (Romero & Pescosolido, 2008).

5. Mix introverts and extroverts

We tend to think of the extroverts as superior ‘team-players’: they mix better, pipe up more in meetings and generally seem to be getting on with others more smoothly.

But introverts have their place as well. Introverts certainly don’t blow their own trumpets and aren’t often noticed at the outset, yet eventually the group comes to value them.

That’s what Bendersky and Shah (2012) found in their study of introverts and extroverts working together. In general, as the team evolves, extroverts do worse than people expect and introverts do better.

6. Define goals and…

One of the greatest barriers to effective team performance is pretty simple: they don’t know what the goal is.

A study of 500 managers and professionals in 30 different companies found that it was an unclear vision of the goal that was stopping them performing effectively.

7. … define roles

OK, everyone knows the goal, but do they know what they’re supposed to be doing to achieve this goal?

It seems like a pretty basic step, yet it’s frequently unclear to team-members exactly what their role is.

Unclear roles become particularly problematic when the situation changes and the team has to adapt. If the roles aren’t clear then each person doesn’t know what they’re supposed to be doing. And that’s a recipe for disaster.

8. Spread the story

For people to work together effectively they need to know what the story is in a more general sense.

Where have we come from and where are we going? It’s about more than just goals and roles, it’s about the assumptions we are using and the knowledge that we share (or don’t).

Psychologists sometimes refer to these ‘stories’ as mental models.  We construct these mental models of the world outside to help us navigate it and work out what to do next. When the mental models of groups are better aligned, they perform better.

For example, Westli et al. (2010) found that when medical staff at a trauma centre shared mental models their performance was better, over and above specific teamwork skills.

9. Concise communication

When teams make mistakes, one of the most common reasons is that they failed to communicate effectively.

In complex environments, information will often be coming from many different sources. We’re all awash in information nowadays, or maybe drowning is a better word; emails get cc’d to everyone, and who knows what’s important?

Teams that perform best clearly communicate the most important information before they’ve even been asked for it and filter out the junk.

10. Leadership

Teams invariably benefit from good leadership. Naturally it’s about motivation, structuring tasks, analysing what needs to be done, allocating goals and so on, but it’s more than that.

The best leaders are also trying to nurture their teams by addressing some of the soft skills above. They are getting the mix of personnel right, encouraging concise communication, spreading the group’s story, using humour and building trust.

Now can you see why Marvel’s Avengers always triumph?

What do you think are the most important factors in successful teams?

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