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Why Teams Still Need Leaders

While flat organizational structures have gained favor in recent years, hierarchies continue to provide many important benefits, says the University of Michigan’s Lindy Greer. Depending on the circumstances, the answer isn’t to eliminate hierarchy but to train leaders and teams to use it flexibly.

The Unique Challenges of Cross-Boundary Collaboration

Technology has made business more globally connected than ever before. This is especially true for innovation projects, where diverse experts bring their specialized knowledge to play. But there’s a hitch: Many of today’s team projects have built-in hurdles because of differing communication styles, cultures, and professional norms. Leading this kind of “extreme teaming,” which often involves complicated hierarchies of power, demands both curiosity and humility.

The Limits of Structural Change

Organizational structure, the authors contend, is increasingly irrelevant to how work is actually done. Citing BP, Duke Power and W.L. Gore and Associates, they demonstrate that it is not formal structure but the adaptability of processes, people and technology that enables companies to build lasting value.


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