良好的沟通是涉及团队合作的标准说辞。但麻省理工学院（Massachusetts Institute of Technology）的研究人员发现，在全部工作时间内，鼓励随意的对话对于打造优秀团队至关重要。麻省理工的研究人员使用带有传感器的徽章，在数十家公司捕捉人们的肢体语言、手势和语调。结果，研究人员可以根据沟通方式，非常准确地预测出一个团队的绩效。表现最差的团队花更多时间坐在一起开会，团队中有一位占主导地位的成员，或者人们只是在说或听，却无法两者兼顾。
卡耐基梅隆大学（Carnegie Mellon University）的团队合作研究员安妮塔•伍利表示，虽然大多数领导者认为他们应该负责发号施令和制定议程，但实际上，团队需要他们作为促进者，挖掘所有团队成员的潜力。最优秀的团队在外人看来可能并没有明确的负责人。事实上，许多团队根本不需要领导者。
纽约的俄耳甫斯室内乐团(Orpheus Chamber Orchestra)就是一个例子。40年来，这个乐团举行音乐会从来不用乐队指挥。对于演奏曲目、演奏方式、加入乐团的人选以及巡回演出的地点和时间等问题，乐团的34位音乐家可以各抒己见。
Some of the best performing corporations and institutions are those that encourage and enable teamwork—in the C-suite, within groups and across divisions. The secret to a great team is not simply about having the most experienced or smartest people on board. Here are 5 ways to build a top-performing team:
• Push for casual conversations-- not necessarily meetings
To boost collaboration at her Los Angeles skincare company Beautycounter, CEO Gregg Renfrew encourages her five-person executive team to spend more time talking one-on-one with each other—whether it's a five-minute desk-side conversation or grabbing a cup of coffee. She tries to limit the number of people in conversations, avoid lengthy emails, scheduling phone calls and long formal meetings. Instead, she opts for quick stand-ups and group huddles.
It's an about-face from her early days, when she found herself booked in meetings all day. Now, her team can be far more collaborative and gets far more done.
"It helps us stay in sync," she says. "You can be decisive, you can be nimble, and you don't get caught up in red tape."
Good communication is standard teamwork rhetoric. But casual conversations throughout the day can be vital to top-performing teams, according to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Using badges with sensors that capture body language, gestures and tone of voice at people at dozens of companies, MIT researchers could predict with eerie precision a team's performance based on the pattern of communication. The worst performing teams sat in more meetings, had a dominant team member or people who talked or listened but did not do both.
In fact, those informal conversations in the hallways or the break room may be even more important to team productivity than team members' IQ, skill or experience, says MIT professor Alex "Sandy" Pentland.
Great teams don't just talk amongst themselves either, he found. The more creative groups talked to people outside their own group—a lot. Yet it's something most people forget to do. "The org chart says you talk to these six people," says Pentland. "If you only do that then you get stuck with the same ideas going around and around again instead of new ideas."
• Throw out the hierarchy
While most leaders think they must do the talking and set the agenda, teams really need them to be facilitators, bringing out the contributions of everyone, says Anita Woolley, a Carnegie Mellon University researcher who has studied teamwork. The best teams may be those that, to an outsider, it's not entirely clear who is in charge. In fact, some teams need no leader at all.
Just look at the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York. For 40 years, the orchestra has worked in concert—literally –without a conductor. All of the 34 musicians get to make suggestions on what is played, how it is played, who can join the orchestra, and where and when they tour.
"Putting on a concert is nothing more than managing a short-term project," says Krishna Thiagarajan, the orchestra's executive director, whose role is akin to a band manager.
The group selects a core group to oversee practice and performance for each music selection and elects three artistic directors for three-year terms. Anyone can give input and peers judge job performance.
Not every decision is a consensus, says Thiagarajan. But Orpheus has the highest job satisfaction of any professional orchestra and has catapulted to become one of the best in the world, delivering what Thiagarajan calls unique, "spirited" performances.
"You can see them breathing together, anticipating each other and working together as a team," he says. "It's a huge rush."