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.”

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.

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

Adam Galinsky is the chair of the Management Division and the Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Business at the Columbia Business School. He teaches in the Advanced Management Program at Columbia Business School Executive Education.