Which is more effective in solving difficult problems, a group of intellectual superstars or a team of individuals who focus on building relationships? In his latest blog Alan Seale shares the answer.

Seeking to understand what makes some groups more successful and productive than others, researchers at MIT brought together hundreds of volunteers, put them in groups and gave them very difficult problems to solve. As was expected some were more successful than others.

Contrary to expectations, the highest achieving groups were not those made up of “superstars’ or people with exceptionally high IQs. Instead, the research showed the key to success was the social interconnectedness of the people within the group.

These findings are congruent with Alan’s own work on transformational presence and leadership, and I urge you to visit his website to learn more about his teaching and coaching. Being present to another person creates a container of safety that invites sharing and taps talent.

Embedded in Alan’s blog is a TED talk presented by entrepreneur and thought leader, Margaret Heffernan. In the talk she describes the MIT studies in greater detail and makes a compelling case for how building social capital leverages organizational effectiveness.

Describing the successful groups in the study, she used a phrase that sticks with me still: Bringing out the best in others is how they found the best in themselves. Given the fissures in relationships today, be they between two individuals seeking to strengthen their partnership or tribal adversaries who must learn to coexist, this is a compelling bridge to build.

Who or what brings out the best in you? When and how do you bring out the best in others?