High Five! The Magic of Working Together

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9780688170363: High Five! The Magic of Working Together

High Five! combines the spellbinding charm of a timeless parable with cutting-edge information about why teams are important and what individuals and organizations can do to build successful ones.

Through the story of Alan Foster, a workplace one-man band, High Five! identifies the four key ingredients of winning teams. Although Alan is an effective producer, he is unwilling to share the spotlight by partnering on projects and is fired because, as his boss puts it, "Alan, we need good producers who are good team players, too." It is a bitter pill for him to swallow.

While mulling over his disappointment, he takes his son to his grade-five hockey practice, where it is clear that his son's team, the Riverbend Warriors, knows nothing about teamwork, either. When the team's two overworked coaches learn of Alan's plight, they persuade him to join their ranks, and he finds himself charged with teaching himself and the players the meaning of teamwork. With the help of a woman friend-a former girls' basketball coach who has "won more high school basketball championships than anyone"-Alan and the Warriors learn the magic of teamwork and that "none of us is as smart as all of us."

With its simple style and easy-to-follow techniques, High Five! is a must-read for anyone seeking to learn the value and power of teamwork.

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Review:

Organizational guru Ken Blanchard has long had a knack for writing management books that are easy and fun to read (The One Minute Manager, plus 11 other bestsellers). Now, in his latest, he becomes (with the help of three coauthors) something of a novelist, relating the saga of the Riverbend Warriors, a come-from-behind boys' hockey team, to teach a broader lesson about the importance of, and the key dynamics behind, good teamwork in organizations of every sort.

High Five! starts with otherwise exemplary exec Alan Foster losing his job because--you guessed it--he isn't a team player. Unemployed, bored, and demoralized, he decides to coach his fifth-grade son's failing hockey team into better shape. But it's not until he enlists the help of Miss Weatherby, an aging African-American retired teacher and champion girls' basketball coach that things really start to turn around. As we follow the struggle of the increasingly well-oiled Warriors machine as they drill, strategize, and bond their way through the season, we learn some of the fundamental lessons of what makes good teams--and good team-building by coaches and managers. Among them are "repeated reward and repetition," the guiding notion that "none of us is as smart as all of us," and four key traits that shall here remain undisclosed (hint: their acronym spells PUCK).

As fiction goes, don't expect high literature here. But to its credit, the book's ending isn't 100 percent happy, either. If you worry that the aged but whip-smart Weatherby might die at the end, don't--instead, she becomes perhaps the world's first octogenarian, black female management consultant. As books on teamwork go, Blanchard's latest is on the lighter side, but it still packs a fair share of commonsense wisdom when it comes to putting together, motivating, and sustaining work teams worthy of the Stanley Cup. And it may even have inaugurated a new fiction genre: the organizational tearjerker. --Timothy Murphy

About the Author:

Ken Blanchard, PhD, is one of the most influential leadership experts in the world. He has co-authored 60 books, including Raving Fans and Gung Ho! (with Sheldon Bowles). His groundbreaking works have been translated into over 40 languages and their combined sales total more than 21 million copies. In 2005 he was inducted into Amazon's Hall of Fame as one of the top 25 bestselling authors of all time. The recipient of numerous leadership awards and honors, he is cofounder with his wife, Margie, of The Ken Blanchard Companies®, a leading international training and consulting firm.


Sheldon Bowles lives in Winnipeg, Canada, and is president of Ode to Joy Limited, chairman of Precision Metalcraft Inc., and an associate of the Exchange Group. A noted speaker, author, and businessperson, he serves on several boards and is currently busy with new projects: a chain of full-service car washes and three forthcoming books, High Five!, Kingdomality, and Road to Riches, all coauthored with Ken Blanchard.

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