In the blog The Benefits of Team-Based Organizations and Faster Growth, Julie Bevacqua writes, “The game is changing. As much as a people-focused strategy is vital to engagement and performance, a collaborative approach to working is fundamental to problem-solving and driving progress. Companies realize that top-down, formal reporting hierarchies and silo-based organizational models are detrimental to innovation and growth—and they’re making a shift. Forward-thinking organizations are pivoting towards a flexible, team-based model that encourages collaboration and community across departments and the enterprise as a whole.”
According to a Deloitte study, 38 percent of companies and 24 percent of large companies (those with more than 50,000 employees) have moved away from functional structures towards dynamic networks of teams.
There are distinct advantages to inserting teams into the corporate culture such as improved communications, keener focus on specific projects or processes and empowering people to take ownership of the company’s accomplishments.
The most often mentioned downside to team-based organizations is the time it requires to analyze a situation and reach a decision. Employees of such organizations spend upwards of 70 percent of their time in planning and information-sharing meetings. Still, the benefits usually outweigh the disadvantages because the result is more efficient, profitable, or productive than if only one person did all the work.
Although there is no malice in converting an organization’s culture to a team-based one, often a business owner will assume his company is team-oriented when nothing could be further from the truth. If you think you work at or own a team-based business, try asking a random sample of your employees these questions:
- What is our company’s sales goal for this year and are we currently ahead, behind, or right on plan?
- What is our company’s number one quality problem?
- Who is our company’s number one customer?
- What product costs our company the most to produce?
- At what percent is capacity for our company’s machinery?
- What is our company’s vision or mission statement?
In a true team-oriented organization, every employee should know the answer to all those questions. If only a select number of people, meaning upper management, know the answers, don’t kid yourself. The company is not sharing enough information to its team members for them to make informed decisions.
Simultaneous with commissioning a project and assigning team members, do a quick assessment of their perception on the TEAM issues: Trust, Empowerment, Accountability, and Motivation. There should be little to no question as to who is responsible for filling what roles, what needs to be accomplished, when the project should be completed, and what is in it for them to do a good job. Team members will want to know many other things throughout the process. However, at the onset, at least provide the TEAM vision to the team.