Photograph by Peter Bohler

Teamwork in action.

Business is a team sport. While history textbooks—and business magazines—tend to lionize individual leaders from Henry Ford to Steve Jobs, there would be no Ford Motor or Apple without groups of employees working together to design, manufacture, market, and sell their products. Fortune set out to highlight successful teams and quickly discovered that there’s no single formula for making them work.

We found highly effective groups consisting of people who’d worked together for years and productive “virtual” teams that span multiple time zones and companies. Some teams vacation together to strengthen their bonds, others encourage dissent—but all in the name of getting results. Still, there are some universal lessons to be gleaned: Chemistry matters. So does having a common goal. And while there’s no one way to build strong teams, you can’t build a successful company without them.


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