The 60-30-10 principle

The general idea is that teams perform better than individuals. Nuance, good teams perform better than individuals. Small teams could suffer from lack of ideas. Large teams suffer from too much communication (or not enough). Both have a negative impact on productivity.

Organizations frequently use the following process for creating teams; “John, Frank, Emma, Erik and Lisa. You are now a team!” Chances are these members were between projects and available (great criterion!). Esther Derby taught me an alternative solution for creating teams. She wrote an excellent article about it, which I recommend reading.

The most valuable lesson from that article is the awareness of the 60-30-10 principle.

  • 60% of the variation in team effectiveness is attributable to the design of the team,
  • 30% to the way the team is launched,
  • 10% to leader coaching once the team is underway.

That means 90% of the team’s fate is determined before they have done any work. 90% (!), that’s a lot.

Let’s think about that. This makes sense. Suppose I would be the coach of FC Barcelona, I’m pretty sure the team will (still) win most of their games. Why?

  • 60% à The team is well designed, they have and almost unbeatable midfield (Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets) and some of the best strikers in the world (Messie, Neymar).
  • 30% à The team always plays the same system, they know what is expected.
  • 10% à They had a great coach Josep Guardiola, and have now a (my opinion) lesser skilled coach: Geradro Martino. But this hardly influences their result.

Making a team yell is a challenging and difficult task. Invest your time and effort wisely.


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