How companies use teams to drive performance

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Companies across the world agree that teams are essential to drive superior performance. In this report, we explore the various aspects of teaming, based on a survey of 821 business executives conducted in April and May 2013. Respondents represented 14 countries around the world across Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas.

The composition of teams is changing.
Almost 9 out of 10 companies surveyed for this report agree that the problems confronting them are now so complex that teams are essential to provide effective solutions. To achieve superior performance, companies need to tap into the full range of skills and expertise at their disposal.

There is a correlation between diversity and corporate performance.
Our survey finds that companies that say they are good at ensuring that teams are comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences tend to have higher EBITDA growth rates. We find a similar association between companies that have increased the geographical distribution of teams in recent years and high growth rates.

Culture influences how much time executives allocate to team activities.
Respondents from China spend the most time on team activities, at 65%, while those from South Africa spend the least, at 47%. Other BRIC countries also score highly in terms of the amount of time they spend on team activities, whereas Anglophone countries, including the US and Canada, tend to be more individualistic in how they allocate their time.

Culture influences the way in which teams collaborate and structure themselves.
Across cultures, workers differ in their preparedness to collaborate and voice opinions, and in their comfort with ambiguity. For example, Anglophone countries, such as the US, UK and Australia, are least likely to see clarity of roles and responsibilities as an important feature of a high-performance team. This suggests that these countries are more willing to be spontaneous in their team-related activities than those countries where a more rigid structure is preferred.