Katherine SturleyResearchTeam Development

What the research tells us about teams

By November 19, 2019 No Comments

I am currently reading one of Simon Sinek’s books, Leaders Eat Last, and am reminded again of the power of teams. At heart, we are primitive beings who thrive on community and companionship to provide us with safety and courage to navigate the complexities of the world. When the team around us is progressing effectively through shared understanding and clarity of purpose, we soar. When we are unsure whether those in our team will be there if things get tough fear trickles in and performance suffers.

Here is some recent research that confirms our belief in the power of teams.

Greater performance

  • Working in teams provides multiple benefits:
  • Collective wisdom resulting in improved decision making
  • Better-quality outputs
  • Improved decision making
  • Stronger relationships
  • Improved engagement leading to greater staff retention

Recent Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2019 report, finds that shifting towards a team-based organisational model significantly improves performance. Yet, getting work done through high-performing teams and across large organisations is difficult and complex. Research shows many organisations understand the opportunities that a shift in organisational models from ‘functional hierarchy’ toward ‘team-centric and network-based’ presents yet only a very few are ready to act on this shift, let alone effectively manage cross-functional teams.

Trust

When the ADP Research Institute recently examined teams through its Global Study of Engagement, they found that the best indicator of level of engagement was whether or not team members trust their team leader. Trust is built over time and through interaction, when many organisations are not set up to know a lot about their teams, this process becomes a challenge. For example, 75% of people surveyed in this same report said that their teams are not represented in their employer’s organisation chart. Building trust in this environment is difficult.

Breaking down the division between teams

A recent PWC strategy report reveals how seldom companies successfully work across silos:

  • Only about 36% of companies prioritise a few cross-functional capabilities at the company level and expect functional leaders to identify how they contribute to the mission.
  • 55% of companies work in silos, with each function making its own decisions on which capabilities matter most
  • Three out of five companies say the solution to reaching their strategic goals is collaborating more across functions, paired with faster decision making.

Continuing to work in silos can:

Limit communication – employees crave communication especially positive. Research shows 47% of workers find it motivating when colleagues discuss workplace success.

Reduce culture – siloed teams eventually inhibit the company’s culture as research finds employees want to feel comfortable being themselves and feel like they are part of a team.

Create repeat work – it is frustrating to discover that someone else at your company (most likely on another team or in a different department) is doing the same work or looking for the same information. When teams are in the dark on other teams’ projects, it can severely impact your business’s productivity.

Block information from those who need it – the average worker spends nearly 20% of their work week looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks.

Think of the increases in efficiency and performance by breaking down these silos and working more powerfully in teams, it’s a lot more fun too!

Katherine Sturley

Katherine Sturley

Katherine is a RTO Consultant at MODAL and facilitates a wide variety of specialist programs.