Idea in Brief

The Problem

Teams are more diverse, dispersed, digital, and dynamic than ever before. These qualities make collaboration especially challenging.

The Analysis

Mixing new insights with a focus on the fundamentals of team effectiveness identified by organizational-behavior pioneer J. Richard Hackman, managers should work to establish the conditions that will enable teams to thrive.

The Solution

The right conditions are

  • a compelling direction
  • a strong structure
  • a supportive context, and
  • a shared mindset

Weaknesses in these areas make teams vulnerable to problems.

Today’s teams are different from the teams of the past: They’re far more diverse, dispersed, digital, and dynamic (with frequent changes in membership). But while teams face new hurdles, their success still hinges on a core set of fundamentals for group collaboration.

A version of this article appeared in the June 2016 issue of Harvard Business Review.