Can Too Much Talent Harm Your Team's Performance?

Research from Columbia Business School shows why a team needs a range of talent levels to be most successful

Mar 08, 2016, 12:28 ET from Columbia Business School

NEW YORK, March 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Every organization wants to hire the best of the best, but research from Columbia Business School shows that teams with the most talent don't always net the best results.

Professor Adam Galinsky, the Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Business at Columbia Business School, examined a variety of team-based situations — including egg-production in a chicken coop as well as 10 seasons of professional basketball and baseball — and concluded that when a team is filled with top-notch talent, overall performance actually goes down.

"If a team does not have a clear pecking order, status conflict and chaos emerges, and as a result the overall performance goes down because coordination goes down," says Professor Galinsky. "Overall, our findings suggest that team coordination suffers when there is too much talent, because team members all try to be the alpha."

Professor Galinsky elaborates on his conclusions and explains what you should consider before hiring for your team in this short video (available at

The takeaway for hiring managers is this:

  • If you have a team where members must join forces, such as a basketball team, then hiring a range of talent levels will generate the greatest success. 
  • But if you have a team where individuals do not need to coordinate and are able to work individually, such as a baseball team, then hiring the best of the best is a great strategy. 

To learn more about cutting-edge research being performed by Columbia Business School faculty members, please visit

Be sure to check out Adam Galinsky's latest book Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both, available at

About Columbia Business School
Columbia Business School is the only world-class, Ivy League business school that delivers a learning experience where academic excellence meets with real-time exposure to the pulse of global business. Led by Dean Glenn Hubbard, the School's transformative curriculum bridges academic theory with unparalleled exposure to real-world business practice, equipping students with an entrepreneurial mindset that allows them to recognize, capture, and create opportunity in any business environment. The thought leadership of the School's faculty and staff, combined with the accomplishments of its distinguished alumni and position in the center of global business, means that the School's efforts have an immediate, measurable impact on the forces shaping business every day. To learn more about Columbia Business School's position at the very center of business, please visit

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SOURCE Columbia Business School