Google’s 5 Rules for Great Teams


Google has 5 rules for great teams.

1. Psychological Safety

2. Dependability

3. Structure and Clarity

4. Meaning

5. Impact

Let’s take a closer look at each element.

1. Psychological Safety

Great leaders know that team members need to feel safe. Members are more likely to contribute, bring forward ideas, take a risk and be vulnerable if they feel emotionally safe.

Protect your team members when they take risks. Try to have open conversations. Praise in public. Give personal and performance feedback in private. Don’t let conflicts go unresolved.

Be a great leader that creates a psychologically safe environment and watch your team thrive.

2. Dependability

Team members and the team as a whole need to hold themselves to a high level of accountability. The team finishes on time. They can count on each other to do what they said they would when they said they would do it. They don’t chase each for answers and support.

As a leader be dependable and hold your team to the standard you keep. Discuss the importance of dependability. Create deadlines with the team. Let them decide the time frame and hold the team to it.

3. Structure and Clarity

Your team needs clear roles, plans and goals. Think of a baseball team. The coach does not pitch. The pitcher does not run into the field to catch the ball. Each member has a role and it’s clear. It adds to the effectiveness of the team.

The team needs a goal and a plan to be executed. Want lunch, you need a plan. Are you going out or bringing it in a bag? Are you going to get it or is someone else? When are you eating? Without a plan, you may or may not get lunch. You’ll also sway to other people’s plans, abandoning your own.

Your team needs to know the end goal and then work backwards on how to achieve it, creating the plan along the way.

Back to lunch.

Goal: I want to eat cobb salad at noon.

Plan: Block off lunch on my calendar. Make my salad the night before. Pack it in a carrying container. Place it in the fridge.

Success: I ate my salad at noon.

This simple example demonstrates how even a plan and goal for lunch can transform your life. You’ll eat better, save money and get what you want to eat. The same is true for your team. The team’s success is based on how well they set goals, break down the goal into an actionable plan and then correctly execute the plan.

4. Meaning

Your team becomes more effective when they feel the work they do is personally important to them. You can physically see the difference of someone who feels they are making a difference, and that they feel important to the other team members, the company and clients.

Spend time understanding your team. What goals do they have within the company? What do they need to grow in their roles? Do they have ideas that could be worked on as a side project? Set time aside for them to work on that project. Allow them to create meaning. As a leader be sure to demonstrate they matter and they are valuable to you, the team and the company.

5. Impact

Everyone needs to know that what they do matters. Showing your team the impact they have on the company, on clients, and on other teams will drive them to new levels.

Create physical representations of goals, targets, and results. Money saved, money made, client testimonials and the number of products shipped are all examples.

The more your team can see the impact they have the stronger they feel about increasing that impact.

Final Thought

Work towards developing each of these 5 rules within your team and you’ll see tremendous growth with your team, personally and professionally.



Each person has a natural communication style.
Understanding yours can and will impact how effective you are when dealing with friends, co-workers and clients.

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