Teamwork at Signature Hardware

Signature Hardware’s guiding principles for decision making are customer-focused, employee-focused, and community-oriented. This means that as we create, evaluate, and improve policies and processes, we question how our customers, employees, and community are impacted by the decisions that we make. Signature Hardware takes a scientific approach to testing ideas in that we look for evidence and data to support our principles and decisions. If we can’t find the data available in the massive amount of information that we collect, then we create tests to get the information we need. Guided by our values and our methodology to find solutions, the history of Signature Hardware is a history of good ideas put into action.

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How do our good ideas originate? It turns out good ideas (and the plans to execute them) don’t come from individuals or individual moments, but from teamwork and cooperation. And what makes an effective team? In true Signature Hardware fashion, I propose we let the evidence decide, and the good news is, Google already did the legwork for us.

Over 5 years, Google analyzed the historic academic research and the hundreds of working teams within Google looking for patterns of behavior compared to outcomes. They termed this initiative Project Aristotle.

The New York Times reported Google’s findings in February in a special Times Magazine section. Project Aristotle’s evidence points to a few repeating characteristics:

* Good teams perform better than good individuals.

* A good team can be made up of average performers (or good performers).

And what does the evidence tell us makes a good team? Project Aristotle points to a concept of “psychological safety”, first published by Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson in 1999. Psychological safety is a “shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.” Team members know they can speak up without repercussions and embarrassment. They treat each other with trust and respect and in meetings and talk equally without domination by one or a few voices.

In other words, our performance is better in groups than individually. Bouncing ideas and plans off our colleagues makes our ideas and plans better, and makes our company stronger. The evidence speaks to what many of us have known all along is the direct path to success: listen to your colleagues, learn from your colleagues, and treat each other with kindness and respect. Signature Hardware will work hard to continue to foster this environment. We hope every member of our team knows they are listened to, valued, and respected.

To read the original New York Times article, click here: What Google Learned from Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team

To read the original paper by Amy Edmonson, click here: Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams by Amy Edmonson

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