How Important is Team Design and Structure?

Team design and structure counts for about 60% of effectiveness! So to be effective team leaders need take the time to properly design their team for success and set up the structure that will facilitate team effectiveness, before they focus on interpersonal dynamics and group processes (Hackman and O’Connor, 2005; Hackman and Wageman, 2005; Wageman et al., 2008). As they set a compelling direction and purpose for their team, they also ensure that the right talent is in place. They define team structures such as roles and responsibilities, and they collaboratively identify working agreements that allow their team to deliver on their purpose and goals.

Addressing structure and design issues first will minimize conflict and confusion later and ultimately support the team to succeed.


To determine if you have a strong team design, ask your team members:

  • Do you clearly know what is expected of you and your other team members (roles and responsibilities)?
  • Do you have a purpose and clear goals that actually require you to work interdependently to achieve them?
  • Do you have explicit team norms and agreements about how to work together? Can you list what they are?
  • Do you have the time, resources, and information it takes to get the job done properly?
  • Do you have clear measures of success?

Use your own observations and feedback from your team on the questions above to design or redesign the team roles and structures to be as effective as possible.

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