When Teams Work Best
6,000 Team Members and Leaders Tell What It Takes to SucceedBook - 2001
`This book makes collaboration a vivid and workable concept′ - Allan R Cohen, Professor of Global Leadership, Babson College
When Teams Work Best helps us understand what makes teams succeed, why teams fail, and what can be done to improve the ability of a team to work together productively.
Sometimes teams work effectively, but often they don′t. No one knows this better than team members themselves. This book is based on twenty years of research in which the authors asked more than 6,000 team members across a variety of businesses and industries, in both public and private sectors, to assess their teams, their team leaders, and each other. In the safety of confidentiality, team members identified what encourages teams to succeed and what discourages teams into failure. Building on this analysis and the authors own extensive observations of hundreds of teams in scores of organizations the authors offer specific advice for improving team leadership, becoming a more effective team member, developing positive team relationships, creating a more supportive organizational environment, and enhancing team problem solving abilities.
The emphasis throughout the book is on practical, portable insight. At the start of each chapter, is a one-page "Snapshot" that provides a concise overview of the chapter contents. Then, each chapter′s discussion opens with a real-life scenario that introduces the issues discussed in that chapter in concrete, familiar terms. Throughout the book you hear the voices of actual team members in the form of a number of quotations that speak candidly and in down-to-earth ways about the difficulties and triumphs they experience in working in teams. Finally, to help you put the chapter′s lessons into practice, each chapter concludes with a "Putting It to Work" section that includes specific suggestions and helpful instruments that you can use directly or adapt to suit your circumstances.
You′ll find that you come away from this book with much more than a theoretical idea of what should make teams work best. You′ll come away with the collective insights of thousands of team members and leaders on what really does work to bring out the best in teams. And you′ll have in hand the tools that can help you put these insights to work.
Who Needs This Book?
· Executives and managers who are responsible for the overall functioning of teams can use this book to ensure that teams throughout the organization understand what it takes to make collaboration work. They can learn what to look for in exemplary and less-than-exemplary teams, from the qualities of team members, to the processes that successful teams use, to the attributes of effective team leaders (Chapters 1-4). Senior managers may also want to pay particular attention to Chapter 5, which discusses organizational factors that foster or impede the work of collaborative teams.
· Team leaders will find specific practical guidance in every chapter that can improve their leadership of teams. The book can be an excellent training vehicle for team leaders, whether they are seasoned veterans or new to the job. In addition to learning valuable strategies and techniques for themselves, they can use much of the material in the book in managing team members to collaborate more effectively. Finally, team leaders can use the ideas in Chapter 5 on the organizational culture to assess organizational obstacles to their work and advocate constructive change.
· Team members can use this book to improve their own participation in teams, help their team function more effectively, and prepare to become leaders themselves.