We know that smart people can come together in projects and produce exceptional work. What is less discussed is that smart individuals can — and do — come together as teams only to generate dysfunction and sub-par results.
Back in the 1970s and 80s, British management researcher Meredith Belbin discovered unexpectedly poor results with teams formed of people who had sharp, analytical minds and high mental ability. He dubbed these teams of smart people “Apollo teams,” as his research coincided with the American lunar expeditions.
In case after case of team-based assignments, he found that Apollo teams often finished near the bottom, compared to teams that possessed less individual and collective intellectual firepower.