April 2016 | Reading List
If you believe the headlines, teams are dead. They waste time and underperform. They’re dysfunctional and slow. But for all of the pronouncements and predictions, teams are still responsible for most of the work in organizations, and some of them do it quite well. The problem, it seems, isn’t with teams themselves — it’s with the ways in which they’re run.
In their new book Committed Teams: Three Steps to Inspiring Passion and Performance (Wiley, 2016), Mario Moussa, Madeline Boyer, and Derek Newberry share a simple method for team leadership that’s backed by years of research and results. The authors have had a front-row seat in Wharton’s Executive Development Program (EDP), observing and coaching over 100 teams of high-level executives in the program’s highly realistic business simulation. They’ve seen common mistakes, avoidable missteps, and absolute failures. But they’ve also seen what works.
Based on their research, Moussa, Boyer, and Newberry have created a process that any team can use to boost engagement and supercharge performance. Based on a “3x3 Framework,” the process works for teams of all kinds in any environment. The special concerns of virtual teams, committees, startups, and leadership groups are addressed, and the seven most common mistakes are explored.
And while the practical guide was formulated for teams, many of its elements can also be applied to other work situations to improve individual performance. Actionable advice on becoming your own observer, leading more effective one-on-ones, and creating a plan for inevitable setbacks can boost overall achievement.
In the conclusion, “The Future is Teams,” the authors share observations on current workplace trends and new ways of collaborating and teaming. Recommendations for working in flatter, looser, wider, and faster teams are based on timely examples, including Zappos’ Holacracy and the rise of freelancing. A “Toolbox for the Hyper-Collaborative World” brings the discussion back to the practical 3x3 Framework and its application to these new forms of teamwork. As Moussa, Boyer, and Newberry explain, since teams continue to evolve, “your ability to be a flexible, committed, high-performing teammate will determine whether you work at all.” It’s a powerful reason to add their book to your reading list.
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