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Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy [Kindle Edition]

Amy C. Edmondson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

New breakthrough thinking in organizational learning, leadership, and change

Continuous improvement, understanding complex systems, and promoting innovation are all part of the landscape of learning challenges today's companies face. Amy Edmondson shows that organizations thrive, or fail to thrive, based on how well the small groups within those organizations work. In most organizations, the work that produces value for customers is carried out by teams, and increasingly, by flexible team-like entities. The pace of change and the fluidity of most work structures means that it's not really about creating effective teams anymore, but instead about leading effective teaming.

Teaming shows that organizations learn when the flexible, fluid collaborations they encompass are able to learn. The problem is teams, and other dynamic groups, don't learn naturally. Edmondson outlines the factors that prevent them from doing so, such as interpersonal fear, irrational beliefs about failure, groupthink, problematic power dynamics, and information hoarding. With Teaming, leaders can shape these factors by encouraging reflection, creating psychological safety, and overcoming defensive interpersonal dynamics that inhibit the sharing of ideas. Further, they can use practical management strategies to help organizations realize the benefits inherent in both success and failure.

  • Presents a clear explanation of practical management concepts for increasing learning capability for business results
  • Introduces a framework that clarifies how learning processes must be altered for different kinds of work
  • Explains how Collaborative Learning works, and gives tips for how to do it well
  • Includes case-study research on Intermountain healthcare, Prudential, GM, Toyota, IDEO, the IRS, and both Cincinnati and Minneapolis Children's Hospitals, among others

Based on years of research, this book shows how leaders can make organizational learning happen by building teams that learn.



Product Details


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
(19)
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant. April 18, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Professor Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business school has crafted a practical evidenced based book on how leaders and organizations must approach the increasing complexity of problems they face. Unlike the mindset of execution, which was successful in the past, Professor Edmondson demonstrates that in an increasingly competitive global economy a different approach is needed.

Organizations must learn by teaming.

She provides leaders a clear understanding of how individual and organizational psychology, the reality of hierarchical status, cultural differences, and distance can and do separate team members which can prevent successful teaming. Leaders can close these gaps by understanding the existence of these obstacles and by adapting their leadership style to support and facilitate teaming successfully. She demonstrates the challenges as well as the solutions where teaming has gone well and not so well (the "impossible" rescue of miners in Chile and space shuttle Columbia tragedy) with numerous case studies and insights.

Professor Edmondson also notes that leaders must also thoughtfully identify where the challenges they face fit on the Process Knowledge Spectrum (routine, complex, or innovation). Routine operations could be a car manufacturing plant where outcomes and certainty are known. At the other extreme, innovation operations, like an academic research lab, the outcomes and certainty are quite unknown. Although the teaming framework applies, the leader's specific behaviors and actions change. Having excellent outcomes and teaming necessitates matching the right approach to the correct operation.

Interestingly to maximize learning, conflict and failure are necessary for teaming to be successful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Amy Edmondson characterizes "teaming" as "teamwork on the fly." It could also be termed "informal collaboration on steroids." Whatever, the fact remains that human beings have been exchanging information at least since the discovery of caves as shelters. Edmondson observes, "Though teaming refers to a dynamic activity rather than to a traditional, bounded group structure, many of its purposes and benefits are grounded in basic principles of teams and teamwork. Among the benefits of teams is their ability to integrate diverse expertise as needed to accomplish many important tasks." In what Peter Senge characterizes as the "total learning organization," everyone is both a teacher and a student, depending on the given information exchange. The extent to which teaming is spontaneous is determined by the extent to which it is allowed to be. (The same is true of innovative thinking.)

Edmonson explains how to achieve major strategic objectives, such as these discussed in the first chapter:

o Formulating a new way of thinking about new ways to team (viewed as a verb)
o Organizing to execute
o Learning to team and teaming to learn
o Establishing the process knowledge spectrum
o Formulating new ways of thinking about new ways to lead

Edmonson's approach in each of the eight chapters is to identify, briefly, the "what" of some dimension or component of teaming and then devote most of her (and her reader's) attention to "how" to make it happen. She also makes skillful use of two reader-friendly devices at the conclusion of each chapter: "Leadership Summary" and "Lessons and Actions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teaming taken to an entirely new level September 29, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Professor Edmondson has taken years of observation and insight and brought to the workplace a new way to think about learning- through teamwork. Just like technology is changing the way business works, this new approach to teaming can deliver leverage far beyond the traditional positive effects of teaming; it builds on teaming by super-charging it with learning and ultimately creating a cycle that delivers more with each iteration.

The highly pragmatic examples make it come to life and the comparisons of success vs. failure make it clear that more than anything, this is a learning paradigm. It applies to organizations of any size, shape or objective; in fact I can't think of an organization from the Boy Scouts to IBM that couldn't benefit from the insights in this book.

Bill Hewitt
President & CEO, Kalido
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Leadership Makes It Happen" June 5, 2012
Format:Hardcover
With "Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy," Professor Edmondson has written a book rich in its research roots, engaging in its use of cases, unusual in the depth of its cross disciplinary perspective, and packed with bulleted advice you can put to work immediately. Even highly enlightened leaders, will come away with many new insights that will make them reexamine how they lead, and the organizational culture they have fostered.

Basing her conclusions on decades of research in organizations as diverse as hospitals, government agencies, and Fortune 100 firms, Edmondson writes about "the right leadership mindset to optimize outcomes" - work environments that are organized for learning, in which the fear factor has been removed and employees are encouraged to experiment and take reasonable risks, resulting in increased innovation. She explains, "This way of working allows employees to grow personally and professionally" and also leads to mission success.

Professor Edmondson explores the social and cognitive barriers to teaming, drawing on bodies of psychological research. She then distills her findings into remarkably practical advice for the reader.

For example, there is an entire chapter devoted to "the power of framing" - "a crucial leadership action for enrolling people in any substantial behavior change" - followed by another that is entitled, "Making it Safe to Team." Here we learn about the role of leaders in creating a psychologically safe environment, which research shows delivers the following crucial benefits: "...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
very good
Published 10 days ago by Grace Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Useful and fun to read.
Published 3 months ago by Steven Holmack
5.0 out of 5 stars Breakthrough work on collaboration
This breakthrough work brings together Edmondson's own research along with a considerable survey of other academics' work on teaming and organizational culture and makes the link... Read more
Published 5 months ago by James Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars How to drive innovation in your organization!
Terrific read! Edmondson moves far beyond the literature that address teams as static entities. Instead, she shows how teams can be the means through which organizations learn. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kathe
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Professor Edmondson is reference in this area. This book is a default to people that have studied learning organization, main in groups
Published 8 months ago by Regis Maia Lucci
4.0 out of 5 stars Great insights!
Teaming has great perspectives on challenges we have been discussing in team work for ages...how to bring teams together, approaches to failure, etc. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jen
5.0 out of 5 stars cutting edge information
this book is cutting edge for anyone building teams, coaching teams, or really any team member -- I love the idea that "team" is a verb. a go-to resource
Published 12 months ago by Joan R
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This is a great book and a must read for all those in leadership positions in any company if you want to understand the mindset for what it will take to survive and keep up with... Read more
Published 14 months ago by John Frasco
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good book
I was required to read this book for a teams class in school. It coins the term teaming as an action verb rather than simply have or being on a team. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jeffery Keller
5.0 out of 5 stars Teaming is NOW
I teach organizations how to apply the Toyota Management System to their work. Teaming is critical to that work and this book really offers a in depth explanation of how the teams... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
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