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Teams Take Top Billing in Today’s Organizations

Deloitte reports that 80 percent of respondents to their global survey have either recently redesigned their structure or planned to in the near future. Why? Today’s disruptive business environment is changing too fast for traditional organizational structures to respond effectively. Instead, organizations must create agile, networked, rapid-response teams that bring the best talent to bear on business issues as they emerge.

If your organization is moving toward a team-based structure, these five steps that will help smooth the transition:

  1. Examine your organization’s current structure, then move slowly. Remember: You aren’t changing just the organizational chart. You are actually changing the way people work. This requires an open-minded approach that considers numerous possibilities before implementing any of them.

Example: Your customer-focused team may include parties from marketing, manufacturing, and shipping and receiving. It’s possible that none have worked closely together before.

  1. Determine what realistically can and cannot be done as you move toward a team-based workplace.

Example: Does your business lend itself to a team approach? Do the demographics support a team approach? For example, a younger workforce may be more receptive to team-based problem solving than a more senior workforce.

  1. Implement tools and processes for sharing information. Enterprise-wide social media, such as Yammer, and web-based collaboration tools, such as Slack, Trello and WorkFront, support file sharing between team members no matter where they are located.

Tip: Determining what tools to implement depends on what your organization wants to accomplish. Meet with team leaders to get a deeper understanding of their needs before deciding which tools are best.

  1. Create a recognition and rewards program that encourages and supports team participation and team successes, but be sure to reward the individuals who are the top performers on the team.

Tip: Recognizing and rewarding individual top performers has been shown to have a positive spillover effect on the performance of the whole team.

  1. Beware of “collaborative overload.” A study cited in Harvard Business Review showed that one-third of the added value of collaboration came from just five percent or less of employees. A highly regarded collaborator may become so overloaded with requests that they have little time for their own work. They and their team will suffer.

Tip: Team leaders need to be aware of collaborative overload. The same HBR study cited above found that when collaborators had more than 25 people tapping in with requests their work suffered.

After your company has made the transition, how can you keep your new organizational design going? By paying attention to the basics that work in all organizational structures: A vibrant culture; a highly engaged workforce; and ample opportunities for professional growth.

Do you want to learn more about creating programs that effectively support your teams? A Marketing Innovators Solutions expert can help you find the best program for your organizational goals.



Harvard Business Review. “Teamwork Works Best When Top Performers Are Rewarded,” Kirkman, Li, Zheng, Harris and Liu, March 14, 2016.

Harvard Business Review. “Collaborative Overload,” Cross, Rebele, and Grant, January-February 2016.

Deloitte University Press. “Organizational Design: The Rise of Teams,” McDowell, Agarwal, Miller, Okamoto, Page, February 29, 2016.