How Do Teams Accelerate Organizational Performance?

April 3, 2018

How Do Teams Accelerate Organizational Performance?

If you were raised in the United States or spent significant time living here, then you know that this country, perhaps more than others, believes in the power of rugged individualism. From the stories of early explorers and founding fathers that we learn about in grade school, to ways our media profile movie stars and professional athletes, we admire individuals for their heroic action. Missing from this narrative is how often they collaborate with others to accomplish action. Often, success actually depends on their ability to organize and be part of a team.

For those who look beyond celebration of the individual, there is an emerging science of teams, partly drawn from research, partly from innovative technologies specifically designed to enable team coordination and communication. New capabilities also create the potential for analytic-based team selection, even drawing on our digital footprint as the basis for organizational design decisions. Imagine if you had access to the digital DNA for effective teaming in your organization. Imagine if you knew how to form effective teams, could do it with people dispersed around the world, and could do it faster and better than your competition.

This issue of People + Strategy is devoted to teams. Not just the popular conception of teams that you easily get from motivational speakers and overhyped marketing claims, but a view of teams that comes from researchers, practitioners, and leaders who have honed what drives team
performance and success.

What makes a team more than a group of individuals? What interpersonal energy fosters or inhibits productive work? How do teams innovate, change the playing field, overcome obstacles, and deliver performance beyond expectations? Just as important, how is the changing landscape
of technology, business, and global competition enabling teams to be the true accelerator of strategy?

We are fortunate to have Dave Winsborough join us as guest editor for this issue. Dave brings a truly global perspective: he hails from New Zealand and has worked with teams across the world ranging from business to military to sports teams. His recent book, Fusion: The Psychology of Teams, chronicles what we know from research on teams, where science and the art of practice come together, and how the practice of team development will likely evolve in coming years. In addition to his own experience, Dave has curated a set of contributions that will expand the way you think about and work with teams in your own organization. After reading these articles I expect you will have a better sense of how you can accelerate organizational performance.

The HRPS website maintains a blog at so you too can join the conversation. Let us know how you and your colleagues are leveraging the potential of teams where you work and what really makes a difference.

The Authors: 

Marc Sokol, Ph.D., is executive editor of People + Strategy and the principal and founder of Sage Consulting Resources. An organizational psychologist, consultant, executive coach, writer, and speaker on workplace dynamics, Marc has worked in both the public and private sectors, with leaders and companies across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. He is also on the advisory board of the University of Maryland’s Masters of Professional Studies in Industrial Organizational Psychology. He can be reached at