In this era of agility and resilience, team building is extremely crucial for business organizations of all shapes and sizes. Teams are the small blocks that make an organization strong and innovative and each team has the potential to take a company to the next level.
Business leaders usually want to work with the best people and to make that happen, team builders scout the smartest and most qualified individuals. The idea behind the action is to hire geniuses who can come up with the brightest ideas and unique innovations. However, an fs.blog article suggests hiring only smart players is not enough to build a team best poised for success.
A great idea is very important for businesses to thrive. But at the same time, it is only the beginning of an enormous journey that requires the idea to be shared, promoted and trusted by everyone in the enterprise to make the innovation really successful. While smart people are great at conceiving innovative ideas, they seldom have the expertise to spread the idea and get the much required buy-in.
This is where the social people come in. Typically, businesses don’t want to hire the social butterflies because they are perceived to be working less and gossiping more. So, the focus is always on the smarter breed who can come up with new and better ways of working, saving the organization both money and time and avoiding the social lot who would waste time away from their desks talking with people.
To understand the importance and effectiveness of these social butterflies in a team, let us take look at an idea from the book, The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter, by Joseph Henrich. In the book Henrich makes an interesting point that being smart is not enough for a species to thrive. Having a cultural infrastructure that enables sharing, teaching and learning is of greater importance.
Henrich asks readers to consider a hypothetic prehumen population of geniuses and butterflies, where geniuses are 100 times smarter than the butterflies, but the butterflies have ten times more friends than the geniuses. Now, if both the populations try to achieve an invention, geniuses by working out themselves and butterflies by learning from friends, then what would be the result? The book explains:
“Well, among the Geniuses a bit fewer than 1 out of 5 individuals (18%) will end up with the invention. Half of those Geniuses will have figured it out all by themselves. Meanwhile, 99.9% of Butterflies will have the innovation, but only 0.1% will have figured it out by themselves.”
Applying the same logic in the workplace would imply that organizations should strive to hire a balanced mix of smart people and socially inclined people while building a team. You would not want to fill up a company with either of the two types. Both have their purpose, and both need to work together – geniuses surrounded by butterflies to make the team successful.
For instance, say a client meeting is conducted by one genius and two butterflies. In the meeting, the genius addresses certain client queries with an innovative explanation which leads to positive results. As ardent cultural learners, the butterflies quickly pick up the details of the genius’ pitch and spread it to the whole organization. Soon one would see that most of the teams in the organization are using the same pitch to win new clients.
Smart people are great at working out new and brilliant ideas, but they are neither great teachers, nor very social. By placing butterflies alongside geniuses, organizations can make sure that those ideas are shared, imbibed and practiced by a larger part of the workforce to achieve better results for the entire organization.