One of the fundamental changes in business today is the steady shift away from hierarchical models of management. 31 percent of respondents say that “most” or “almost all” work is done in teams. Our research this year suggests that shifting toward a team-based organizational model improves performance, often significantly.

While many organizations understand the opportunities that a shift toward teams presents, there is much more work to do. 65 percent of this year’s survey respondents viewed the shift from “functional hierarchy to team-centric and network-based organizational models” as “important” or “very important”—but only 7 percent of respondents felt “very ready” to execute this shift, and only 6 percent rated themselves “very effective” at managing cross-functional teams. Knowing these opportunities exist and knowing how to capitalize on them are very different things. Organizations cannot simply create agile workplaces, they must change the way they allocate budgets, train people, reward workers, model career progression, etc. and need to cultivate greater collaboration at senior leadership levels, including among the C-suite.


Organizations need to embed team-based thinking internally within:

- The ecosystem: Define purpose-driven teams in the context of the missions they serve

- The organization: Design “front-led” networks of teams that promote multidisciplinary collaboration

- The team: Build teams that demonstrate new agile and collaborative ways of working

- The leader: Develop collaborative leaders, creating iterative, open, inclusive and effective teams

- The individual: Help staff to focus less on climbing the ladder and more on growing from experience


Organizations are not without means to address such challenges. Practices such as organizational network analysis (ONA) to examine team behavior and effectiveness are starting to take hold. By collecting network data, an organization can understand how its networks operate and where the hierarchy might be helping or hindering their ability to get work done.

The global trend toward team-based organizations is growing for a reason. It is a more effective model for operating in the dynamic, unpredictable business environment typically seen today. In the long term, we believe there will be no leading organization that does not work primarily on a team basis. Striving for a culture of collaboration and aligning incentives with team performance can enable organizations to take the first step, build adaptive muscle and confidence, and start their journey toward becoming a true team-based culture.


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Should you wish to have more information on organizational performance, you can read the full article at: or contact Karine Pontet, Director Operations Excellence and Human Capital Advisory (

Look out for our next article “Future of the organization: Rewards” to understand how organizations can shift from rewarding employees, to cultivating motivating and engaging relationships with its workforce.


Article by Deloitte Luxembourg

Publié le 07 juin 2019