Global Market
Rise of Teams: Response to Global Markets
Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fast-moving global markets and digital disruption have forced companies to innovate rapidly. One strategy for dealing with this new business environment is the rise of teams, according to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report. In fact, more than 80 percent of respondents to this year’s global survey of more than 7,000 respondents in over 130 countries around the world say that they are either currently restructuring their organization or have recently completed the process. Only 7 percent say they have no plans to restructure.

“This new mode of organization—a ‘network of teams’ with a high degree of empowerment, strong communication, and rapid information flow—is now sweeping businesses and governments around the world.”

Here’s the global breakout of percentages who rate organizational restructuring important or very important:

  • China: 97% 
  • Belgium: 96% 
  • Japan: 95% 
  • Brazil: 94% 
  • Netherlands: 94% 
  • Spain: 92% 
  • United Kingdom: 92% 
  • India: 91% 
  • South Africa: 91% 
  • France: 90% 
  • Italy: 90% 
  • United States: 90% 
  • Canada: 89% 
  • Australia: 89% 
  • Mexico: 89% 
  • Germany: 87%

One tactic is to move people into customer-, product-, or market- and mission-focused teams, led by team leaders who are experts in their domain (not “professional managers”). For instance, a healthcare company might have an “Orthopedic and Rheumatology Institute” to bring together orthopedic surgeons, rheumatologists, and counselors, rather than have them siloed in functional groups.
The point is to “replace silos with an information and operations center to share integrated information and identify connections between team activities and desired results.” This approach also enables people to move from team to team as needed. Deloitte explains that this changes the concept of a “job description” to that of a “mission specialist” or “technical specialist.”


In addition, Deloitte explains that successful global organizations empower teams to set their own goals and make their own decisions within the context of an overarching strategy or business plan, reversing the traditional structure of goal and performance management. This enables senior leaders to shift into roles that focus on vision, culture, and cross-team communication.

Finally, savvy global businesses teach and encourage people to work across teams, using techniques like “liaison officers” (the US military), “hackathons,” open office spaces that promote collaboration (Apple Inc. and Cleveland Clinic), and job rotation to give teams a common understanding of each other.

“Companies are decentralizing authority, moving toward product- and customer-centric organizations, and forming dynamic networks of highly empowered teams that communicate and coordinate activities in unique and powerful ways,” says Deloitte.

Take a look at the full report for more insight how businesses are reinventing themselves to operate as networks of teams to keep pace with the challenges of a fluid, global, unpredictable marketplace.

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at 

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