People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 43

teams across thousands of organizations, we have seen the following six organizational practices boost team performance.

1. Start at the top. Those organizations that are most
successful in leveraging teams make sure their top team is
working together effectively. Like any change initiative, the
odds of success go up dramatically when the top team buys in
and models the desired change. This is particularly true with
organizations wanting to improve teamwork; if the top team
is dysfunctional, teamwork has little chance of succeeding
elsewhere in the organization.
"Do as we do" is a more credible approach to promoting
teamwork throughout the organization than "do as we say." Although we've yet to come across a senior leader who disagrees
with this point, we find that top team dysfunction is a primary
source of ineffective teamwork elsewhere in the organization.
Turf wars, artificial harmony, mistrust, and ineffective decision-making at the top always trickles down.
A situation we recently faced with one of our clients illustrates this point. Over the previous three years, this software
company saw its employee engagement scores plummet, key
talent leave for competitors, and turnover rise to twice the in-

dustry average. Comments on exit interviews and engagement
surveys indicated silos and a lack of teamwork were to blame;
employees felt they couldn't succeed in that environment.
Business results were also starting to suffer.
Based on the comments from the exit interviews and engagement surveys, the CHRO sought outside help to diagnose
and solve the problem. We started by administering a team
assessment survey and interviewing the top team and key talent one level below them. The data was eye-opening. Within
the product development function, the software engineers
were enamored with cutting-edge technology and focused on
building new apps. Their product roadmap was driven by the
latest technical innovations with little input from sales and
marketing. The marketing function was focused on mining
big data to gain customer and market insights. When planning marketing campaigns, they did not include input from
product development or sales. The sales organization made
whatever promises were necessary to close big deals and make
their numbers. They left product development to pick up the
pieces and routinely ignored marketing altogether. Frustrated
by a perceived lack of support from marketing, the product
development function planned to hire marketing expertise
in their area. Likewise, the sales team was also seeking to hire
marketing resources within their regions.
During executive team meetings, the SVPs for product
development, marketing, and sales gave every appearance of
being team players. The CEO, to whom they reported, observed them being cordial and agreeable and was unaware of
any friction. While strong norms dictated artificial harmony in
the executive suite, the SVPs were using the managers in their
respective functions as proxies in a covert war. In a war zone,
enemies don't collaborate, no matter what team-building
interventions are thrown at them!
Faced with the data about the dysfunction on the top
team, the CEO recognized that the tension between the
three functions was becoming a significant obstacle for the
business and made improving teamwork one of his strategic
initiatives. With his buy-in, we worked with the top team to
create aligned goals; clarify roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes; and establish more effective norms
for surfacing and working through disagreements. We also
worked with teams one level down to reinforce the changes
that were happening on the top team. Once the top team
was modeling effective teamwork, collaboration improved
throughout the organization.

2. Provide a roadmap. Simply bringing together a
diverse group of individuals and hoping they will figure out
how to work together rarely works. This is because most team
leaders and members, despite having good intentions about
promoting teamwork, don't know the steps needed to build
an effective team. This point was hit home for us when we
asked leaders in executive education sessions about teamwork.
Most told us they knew a high-performing team when they saw
one, but were unable to describe the steps needed to build
a team. They lacked a roadmap or framework for building
teams, and without a roadmap, it's difficult to arrive at the
desired destination.
VOLUME 41 | ISSUE 2 | SPRING 2018

43



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2

From the Executive Editor
From the Guest Editor
Perspectives
Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
The Rise of Digital Team Building
Executive Roundtable
In First Person
Linking Theory + Practice
Insight into Action
Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Executive Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 5
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Guest Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 7
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Perspectives
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 9
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 10
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 11
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 12
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 13
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 14
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 15
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 17
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 18
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 19
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 20
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 21
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 23
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 24
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 25
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 26
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 27
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 28
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 29
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 31
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 32
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 33
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 34
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 35
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 37
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 38
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 39
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 40
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 41
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 43
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 44
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 45
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 47
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 48
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 49
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 50
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 51
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - The Rise of Digital Team Building
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 53
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 54
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 55
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Executive Roundtable
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 57
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 58
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 59
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 60
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 61
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - In First Person
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 63
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 64
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 65
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Linking Theory + Practice
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 67
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 68
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 69
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Insight into Action
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 71
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 73
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 74
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover4
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