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The Rise of Team Effectiveness: How Google Develops Successful Teams
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When: Wednesday October 17 2018
5:00 - 7:30 pm
Where: Newman Conference Center, Baruch College (bet. Lex & 3rd)
151 E. 25th Street
7th Floor
New York, New York  10010
United States
Presenter: Cathy Chen-Rennie & Michele Wolfenstein Aptman, Google
Contact: Alison Normand, Administrator

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You may view the slide presentation via this link - Google: What Makes Teams More Effective

The team is often where real production happens, where innovative ideas are conceived and tested, and where employees experience most of their work. But it’s also where interpersonal issues, ill-suited skill sets, and unclear group goals can hinder productivity and cause friction. We are all too familiar with the frustration we face when teams we had so much confidence in don’t perform up to our expectations. What makes Google’s approach to teams different?

Following the success of Google’s Project Oxygen research which studied what makes a great manager, Google researchers applied a similar method to discover the secrets of effective teams at Google. Code-named Project Aristotle - a tribute to Aristotle’s quote, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" - the goal was to answer the question: “What makes a team effective at Google? 

Join Google’s Cathy Chen Rennie & Michele Wolfenstein Aptman to find out what makes an effective team at Google. During this conversational session, you will come to understand Google’s team effectiveness model, enhance your capacity to help managers create psychological safety, and discuss how you can support teams in meeting their own needs. Cathy & Michele will address some of these key questions:

  • How does an HR professional or manager diagnose which factors of team effectiveness needs help?
  • How can HR professionals help managers build trust and psychological safety on a team?
  • Why do effective teams need dependability?

In addition, you will have an opportunity to learn how you can adapt Google’s team development process for your own organization or practice.  Key takeaways include:

  • You will have an opportunity to work with Google's team effectiveness model
  • Learn questions to ask to help managers/leaders diagnose what is getting in the way of their own effectiveness
  • Grow your capacity to help your managers fix issues in their team through team activity/intervention


Cathy Chen-Rennie
Leadership Development & Coach for Engineering Leaders & Executive Strategist
Google/Capriole Consulting

Cathy Chen-Rennie specializes in coaching tech leaders enabling development of their own skills in leading teams in a consulting group called Capriole Consulting Inc. She came from leading engineering teams in large tech companies (AOL, Global Crossing, Google) as well startups launching product features as a manager and product manager. Cathy has worked at Google for the last 13 years in the Tech and HR functions. She holds a masters in Organizational Psychology from Teacher’s College, a BS in Electrical Engineering from UC Berkeley. Cathy is an associate of the AK Rice Institute and a board member of CSGSS, the Boston affiliate of the AK Rice Institute.

Michele Wolfenstein Aptman
Organization Development Practitioner

Michele Wolfenstein Aptman is an Organizational Development Practitioner at Google. She focuses on leadership team development. She helps teams rebuild post reorganization, address cross functional barriers, develop psychological safety and close gaps in team effectiveness. Her career at Google started twelve years ago as a part of the sales organization, but after five years, she moved to learning and development where she was able to scale her expertise and impact in a different way. She is certified in Insights Discovery, Myers-Briggs (MBTI), Change Style Indicator, and Trusted Advisor.

She is a co-founder of a support group for employees with Developmentally Disabled siblings, one of Google's employee resource groups. Michele currently resides in New York City with her husband and two daughters, who are already exhibiting clear psychological safety within the family unit.

Click on the following articles to learn more about this topic:

What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build a Better Team

Google Spent 2 Years Studying Teams. The Most Successful Ones Shared These 5 Traits

re:Work with Google