A majority of organisations experience challenges building the right team, securing the right talent and managing team conflicts constructively. This affects project completion rates, stress levels and sometimes the very existence of an organisation.
Insights from several universities and consultancies around the world effectively contribute to a heightened state of awareness: Is there something rotten in the state of teams? This is high-lighted by some thought-provoking numbers:
- 18-23% of all projects fail, completely. 3 – 17 percent of large IT projects so badly that they can threaten the very existence of the company1. 23% of start-ups fail due to not having the right team2.
Both IT and Organizational Change projects have a failure rate of 60-70%3. Securing the right talent and building the right team are top of the improvement list4.
- 20% of all hires are “bad hires”. A bad hire costs 30% of an employee’s first year earnings5.
- 31% of teambuilding activities miss the mark or are a waste of time6.
- 60-75% of teams experience serious dysfunctions7.
Fragmentation, isolation, insufficient understanding of each other as team members, lack of accountability—all point to a whopping team vitamin deficiency that results in a massive loss of opportunities. The inability to capitalize on differences, create the driving force that is commitment, or deliver on innovation by sharing and giving feedback leads to stress and sometimes even depression. Some say that a massive 60-75 percent of teams show symptoms of these dysfunctions.
A recurring CB Insights post-mortem study shows that close to one in four of all start-up failures are due to “not having the right team,” making it number three on the list (behind running out of funds and being unable to identify a market need). However, when adding items such as “burn-out,” “failure to pivot,” “lacking passion,” and “disharmony on team,” you quickly get to a great deal more than one in four. We find it challenging to trust one another (one of Google’s main points as to what defines and distinguishes an effective team) and also find it difficult to engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas, commit and hold one another accountable to those commitments, and to continuously focus on goals and ways of working that will increase the probability of delivering a truly great solution. Not only do we find this difficult to do once—to do this on a continuous basis is truly challenging.
Needless to say, there are outside forces way beyond the scope and influence of a team that can greatly affect its success (leadership, culture and market forces to name but a few). PwC published a survey8 clearly indicating that what was considered natural progressions—almost developmental certainties—only five years ago (concerning international trade agreements and the EU) have suddenly ceased to indicate any direction. The world has truly become divergent. However, teamwork is still at the core of success. It is not finance, not strategy, not technology that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, but teamwork. Both because it is so powerful and so rare. Increasingly, it appears that teams – not the individual – holds the key to business success9.
1 Wrike, 2015, McKinsey & Co. in conjunction with the University of Oxford, 2012
2 CB insights, 2017
3 Harvard Business Review, 2013
4 McKinsey & Co. and University of Phoenix, 2013, Salesforce, 2012
5 CEB Global, 2013, Forbes, 2016
6 Citrix & Wakefield, 2015
7 Lancaster University, 2007, Blanchard Co, 2011, HBR, 2015
8 20th CEO Survey, PwC, 2017
9 Dumaine, 1994; Kirkman, Gibson, & Shapiro, 2001; Lencioni 2002, Kornferry.com 2009.