The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization

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9780875843674: The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization

Teams -- the key to top performance

Motorola relied heavily on teams to surpass its competition in building the lightest, smallest, and highest-quality cell phones. At 3M, teams are critical to meeting the company's goal of producing half of each year's revenues from the previous five years' innovations. Kodak's Zebra Team proved the worth of black-and-white film manufacturing in a world where color is king.

But many companies overtook the potential of teams in turning around tagging profits, entering new markets, and making exciting innovations happen -- because they don't know how to utilize teams successfully. Authors Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith talked with hundreds of people in more than thirty companies to find out where and how teams work best and how to enhance their effectiveness. They reveal:

The most important element in team success
Who excels at team leadership ... and why they are rarely the most senior people
Why companywide change depends on teams ... and more

Comprehensive and proven effective, The Wisdom of Teams is the classic primer on making teams a powerful tool for success in today's global marketplace.

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About the Author:

Jon R. Katzenbach has been with McKinsey & Company, Inc. for more than three decades, and since the mid-1980's has led the firm's worldwide organization performance and change practice.

From Publishers Weekly:

The importance of teams has become a cliche of modern business theory, but few have a clear idea of what it means. In this new edition of their best-selling primer, Katzenbach and Smith try to impart some analytical rigor to the concept. Drawing on their experience as management consultants and a plethora of case studies at companies like Burlington Northern and Motorola, they cover such topics as the optimal size of teams, coping with turnover in team personnel and nurturing "extraordinary teams" rather than "pseudo-teams." Reacting against the touchy-feely interpersonal bent of discourse on teams, they emphasize hard-nosed principles of "performance, focus, and discipline," over the softer concerns of "communication, openness and 'chemistry.'" Teams, they argue, gel and achieve not by developing "togetherness," but by tackling and surmounting specific "outcome-based" challenges ("eliminate all late deliveries...within 90 days" rather than the vaguer "develop a plan for improving customer satisfaction."). Some of the authors' recommendations are reasonably precise and practical, but too many are nebulous truisms ("keep the purpose, goals, and approach relevant and meaningful") or weighed down by turgid consultant-ese ("integrating the performance goals of formal, structural units as well as special ad hoc group efforts becomes a significant process design challenge"). The case studies are better written, but it's not clear that these inspiring anecdotes of team triumph add up to a systematic doctrine. The book leaves the impression that teams ultimately just have to learn by doing.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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