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Pillars of Team Effectiveness: Navigating Challenges in a Hybrid World

Teams play a pivotal role in driving performance, fostering innovation, and fueling growth within organizations. However, in the current landscape of a hybrid work environment, ensuring team effectiveness has become more challenging than ever before.

Drawing on research from a Corporate Research Forum study sponsored by LHH and IMD Business School, this blog post explores the key pillars of team effectiveness and offers actionable insights to help teams thrive in the dynamic work ecosystem.

The Impact of the Pandemic on Team Dynamics:

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly reshaped the way teams collaborate and function. Microsoft's research reveals that since March 2020, the number of meetings per person has surged by a staggering 150%. This shift to virtual interactions has necessitated a reevaluation of team dynamics and the creation of strategies to maintain productivity and engagement in remote or hybrid settings.

The Importance of Belonging in Work Teams:

One of the fundamental pillars of team effectiveness is a sense of belonging. Belonging encompasses trust, psychological safety, and a shared understanding of the team's purpose and goals. Trust serves as the bedrock for positive team dynamics and performance. In a safe environment, teams can take ownership of their work, learn from mistakes, and align their efforts with broader business goals.

Steps to Foster Belonging in Teams:

Building a strong sense of belonging requires deliberate actions and considerations. Here are some strategies to foster a sense of belonging within work teams:

1. Create Strong Team Structures: Establish supportive networks and clear team structures that enable effective communication, collaboration, and decision-making.

2. Define the Team's Purpose: Clearly articulate why the team exists, what its goals are, and how its work positively impacts wider business objectives. This shared purpose provides a unifying force for team members.

3. Cultivate In-Depth Connections: Encourage team members to develop meaningful relationships through open communication, empathy, and shared experiences. This promotes a sense of camaraderie and trust within the team.

4. Address Interpersonal Dynamics: Implement team coaching or facilitation to address any interpersonal issues and foster positive relationships among team members.

5. Embrace Learning from Mistakes: Create a safe environment where mistakes are seen as opportunities for growth and learning. Encourage team members to take risks, experiment, and share their learnings with the team.

Purpose: The Driving Force Behind High-Performing Teams:

A purpose-led team is one that aligns its efforts with a clear sense of purpose. When team members understand the larger purpose behind their work, they are more motivated, engaged, and committed to achieving collective goals.

Establishing a Working Contract:

When a team forms, it is crucial to establish a working contract that outlines working processes, acceptable norms and behaviors, and expectations for giving and receiving feedback. This contract sets the foundation for a collaborative and productive team environment.

Strategies to Foster Purpose in Teams:

To cultivate a purpose-driven team, consider the following strategies:

1. Allow Time for Reflection: Create space for team members to reflect on their work and the team's progress. This reflection time allows for continuous improvement and the implementation of new or improved processes.

2. Create and Repeat Habits: Develop consistent team rituals, such as regular check-ins, goal-setting sessions, or team-building activities, to reinforce a shared sense of purpose and commitment.

3. Empower Autonomy: Grant teams greater autonomy in decision-making and operations, allowing them to shape their work processes and communication methods. Autonomy fosters a sense of ownership and accountability within the team.

Investing Strategically in Team Effectiveness:

To maximize the long-term impact of teams on business success, it is crucial for business leaders, HR departments, and team leaders to be strategic in their investments. This includes providing resources for team development, offering training and coaching opportunities, and creating a culture that values and recognizes team contributions.

In the hybrid work landscape, team effectiveness is a critical aspect of organizational success. By understanding and prioritizing the pillars of belonging and purpose, teams can navigate the challenges of remote collaboration, foster stronger relationships, and drive performance and innovation. By investing in teams strategically, organizations can harness the full potential of their collective talents and achieve sustainable business growth.


LHH and IMD Business School, Corporate Research Forum study (sponsored by LHH and IMD Business School), "The Pillars of Team Effectiveness."

Report here:

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Matt Slonaker Founder & CEO of M. Allen (M) 972.740.4300 (E) (W)

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