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4.2 out of 5 stars
High Five! The Magic of Working Together
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be totally delightful as a model for how to be a better adult coach of a children's team. For many years, I have recommended that all those who want to learn how to be better leaders and managers begin by taking on these coaching chores. This is the first book I have ever seen that successfully captures the important principles of coaching these teams. This book deserves many more than five stars for that accomplishment!
The benefits of that are many. First, the players will get a role model of how to cooperate in order to be more effective. Second, the coaches will learn how to be better leaders, and will be able to use that skill in other areas of their lives. Third, the parents will learn what to encourage their children to do in order to get the most from the team experience, and this will bring parents and their children closer together.
The book's fable boils down to four key principles:
(1) The team needs a shared purpose, values and goals.
(2) Skills need to be developed individually that enhance the team's effectiveness.
(3) Enhance team effectiveness by integrating the individual skills properly.
(4) Repeatedly reward and recognize individuals for taking actions that enhance team effectiveness.
A weakness of the fable is that it doesn't give enough attention to how to achieve the first principle for the typical team. My suggestion is that you poll your players before the first practice to find out what their purposes, goals, and values are. Then hold a meeting to discuss what you learned, and build a consensus from there. My experience has been that 99 percent of the players want to have fun, want to improve, and win at least a few games. Be sure to find out what they think is "fun" because it's often different from what the coaches would assume. Fun usually turns out to be loosely supervised scrimmaging time. When that was the case, I ran a brief such scrimmage at the end of every practice until the last player was picked up by her or his parents.
The other place where I would like to make a suggestion is about recognition. I was a coach for 14 years, and I found that giving individual awards to every player for every game worked very well. Everybody does something right at least once in a game. I would make a note of it, describe the reasons for each award, and hand out a little token at the end of each game for each such award. At the end of the season, the player could turn in these tokens for other forms of recognition. I also shouted out the person's name and award when they won one. That way, each child could be a winner every time we played, even if the team lost. And we did not lose very often. The players loved to win those awards for passing, defense, and offense. Scoring accounted for well less than 10 percent of the awards in my experience.
This book has one of the best exercises I have ever seen for convincing people to work on team skills. You divide the players into the "best" math students and the least good ones. Then you teach the least good ones how to cooperate to win an addition game. You let the "best" math students struggle on their own. The least good ones will win almost every time. That will make quite an impression on the players about the importance of teamwork.
The book is probably intended to encourage teamwork on the job, as well. That translation will be harder for most to make. The work environment is mentioned relatively little in the book. Also, how is the sense of shared purpose, values and goals supposed to emerge? You may know how to do that from your own experience and reading other books, but most people reading this book will be at sea. Also, how do you decide which skills the team needs to work on? That is also something you may already know how to do, but most people do not. And the book doesn't explain. I'm sure you see the problem.
I do think that the book will be somewhat effective in making those who focus on their individual work performance rather than the company performance think twice. The analogy (not used in the book) that may help is of Michael Jordan. As a young player, he focused on his own statistics and the Bulls did not win championships. Later, he worked on making the other players better, and the Bulls won all the time. Phil Jackson, as coach, played an important role in that transition. That example will be known to most basketball fans.
Let me compliment the authors on their fable. I have read their other books, and this one is both more interesting and more heartwarming than the others.
After you have finished reading this book and applying its lessons to a coaching situation with youngsters, I suggest that you read "The Goal" and "The Fifth Discipline" to get ideas about how shared purposes, goals, and values can be developed in the workplace. These books will also give you many ideas about the skills that a business team needs in order to be more effective.
By the way, if one of your children or grandchildren is about to start a sport where you will not be coaching, I suggest you give a copy of this book to the coach and ask how you can help the team. He or she will undoubtedly get the message.
May your life be filled with high fives!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2001
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have to admit, I'm a bit of a sucker for these "Blanchard/Bowles/Johnson/etc" books. The story lines are hokey and the concepts elementary, however they can usually be read in one sitting and make great airplane books. Besides, I don't think any aspect of management is that complicated. You really just need to (1)understand the basic principles and (2)apply them religiously. And this is where I think Blanchard's formula is successful. The story keeps the book moving along, and at the same time provides a mental "hook" for remembering the priciples taught. I probably won't remember most of the management books I read six months later, but chances are good that I'll remember this dumb story about a grade-five hockey team.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A great book for not only the blue collar workers but the ivory tower group (especially) as well. Blanchard and Company again take a complicated subject such as teamwork and make it so simple by putting it in a parable format. Once the reader sees how these timeless principles apply to a 5th grade hockey team, Alan applies the same principles in his work life.
This would be a great read for our kid's coaches too!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book has a great storyline in it. But what it teaches about teamwork is magnificent. One thing that it teaches is that getting your star out of the lineup for a while can actually help the team. I believe corporate America often misses that. And it's a book that is easily read. I reccommend it to everyone.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is centered on an ice hockey team of ten-year-old boys. Traditionally, the boys who scored the maximum goals would receive the "best player award". This team also followed this concept and every player focussed on scoring the goal himself without passing the puck. When a player gets the puck, his parents would cheer " Strike-Boy-Strike".
This team NEVER won a tournament.
The new coach who joins this team analyses the problem and changes the reward mechanism.
The player who scored the goal gets 1 point.
The player who passed the puck to the scorer gets 2 points.
The goalkeeper who prevented a hostile goal gets 3 points.
There was also weightage for the factor (Goals scored/ No of strikes).
Suddenly this team starts playing differently. More goals are scored than before and the team starts winning match after match.
Alan Foster is this new coach. Alan had recently lost his job for lack of team skills. He is guided by Miss Weatherby, an aging African-American retired teacher and champion girls' basketball coach.
There is lots of similarity between a sports team and teams at the work place. This book is a superb training guide for scoring team goals - for the Organization.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 9, 2001
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Warning, I find all the Ken Blanchard books that I've reading a good, quick read.
The problem for me is putting the lessons into action.
This book summarizes a number of strategies for getting a team to work together. Like other Blanchard book it's a quick read (less than 3 hours if you're a reasonably fast reader).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
High Five! is a short story that teaches the four core principles of successful teams. By using a story, Blanchard and Bowles show how these principles actually work and make a difference in teams. And High Five! makes a solid case as to why organizations who follow a team strategy will beat those which rely on individual high performers who place their own success ahead of the team's success.
Wayne Gretzky, the world's best hocky player of all time, holds all kinds of records for goals scored. What made him so exceptional though was his goals assist record: The number of times he set up his team mates to score.
If you work for a Neanderthal organization that still values individual success at the expense of team success don't complain that this book isn't realistic and doesn't reflect the real world in corporate America. I've got news for you. The cheese has moved. High Five! is the real world. Winning organizations have moved. Companies that will be around to give you a pay check in the future are those that have high performing people alright, but the definition of high performing won't be the puck hogs. Star performers will be those who, like Gretzky, can score themselves, but whose real genius is lifting the rest of the team to perform better.
High Five! shows that people working together as a team create something the book calls team skills and these team skills are more than the sum of all the individual skills. Team skills allow people to accomplish and achieve far more together than they ever could on their own. This is how team based organizations have moved the cheese and why companies who stick with puck hogs will be left behind. Puck hogs are great when they go one on one against the competion. They don't stand a chance when the competition throws a high five team at them.
High Five! will scare the daylights out of puck hogs and those who work for organizations that don't yet get that teams are the future and puck hogs don't stand a chance. (You can see that panic in a couple of the reviews already posted here!) But for those who get it the book provides an excellent guide to the four keys to winning teams. Then High Five! shows how you use these keys. How you actually put them to work.
I bet if you read this book you'll be pushing to have everyone in your company read it. If you don't it will be because you recognize your company dosen't get it, and isn't going to get it. If that's the case I bet you'll start looking for a job where they do get it, because if they don't get it, they're going to be gone.
High Five! is a must read for anyone who wants to be successful in the future, and for any manager who wants to run a winning organization.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
High Five! in my opion was a great book. The story about a man getting fired and yet he came back to do a job for which he was fired. Teamwork in many things in life is a much needed thing. People must work as a team everywhere or things won't get done. This is a great book that teaches how people should learn to work together and when they do anything is possible. I recommend that all people should read this book, it will make life a lot easier and working with peers much better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
High Five! was given to me as a gift. Once again the authors have created a rememberable story line to drive home the basics of teamwork. This is an easy to read book (I read it in 3 evenings). The story is about a 5th grade hockey squade that becomes an "undefeated" team. Easy to relate to the workplace. I strongly recommend this inexpensive book for all team leaders in your organization.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Team skills are needed to bring out the best in colleagues. While individual talent remains critical, team skills become increasingly important as organisations become flatter and more open.
`High Five' is a parable celebrating teamwork. It centres on an executive, who is smart, works hard, and meets his targets. He is fired because he was unable to make others more productive. By coaching his son's hockey team, he learns the importance of not `hogging the puck'. And of course returns with this message as a consultant.
Like "The one minute manager" and "Who moved my cheese", this book is written as a simple down to earth story. You are unlikely to discover great tips or new techniques, and if you dislike being patronised, perhaps you should stay away.
However, success often consists of motivating oneself to keep up the basics. This book does that charmingly. It is a book, which will be bought in bulk and shared widely.
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