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When Teams Work Best: 6,000 Team Members and Leaders Tell What it Takes to Succeed Hardcover – August 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0761923664 ISBN-10: 0761923667 Edition: 1st

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When Teams Work Best: 6,000 Team Members and Leaders Tell What it Takes to Succeed + The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc; 1 edition (August 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761923667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761923664
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson have done it again! After building a useful framework for team performance in TeamWork they have gone on to collect and analyze exhaustive data that enriches and extends their original work. When Teams Work Best is a gem of a book…. you can’t help but find it useful in today’s organizational world."

 

(LEONARD A. SCHLESINGER)

"LaFasto and Larson offer a tour de force on what makes teams successful. Building on sound theory and relying on extensive research, they offer specific, practical tools that will deliver team value. Team members, business leaders, and organization consultants should not only read, but use this work." 

(DAVE ULRICH)

"When Teams Work Best provides solid practical advice and tools for improving the effectiveness of all teams…. CEO’s take note, this one’s blunt, useful, and refreshing."

 

(RANDY HARWARD)

"This book makes collaboration a vivid and workable concept."

 

(ALLAN R. COHEN)

"Too often, books on teamwork emphasize either applications over theory or theory over application; LaFasto and Larson have effectively combined a fine balance of the two that effectively details both the ‘why’ and the ‘how to’…. An excellent resource for graduate and advanced undergraduate coursework in team development." 

(ANTHONY M. TOWNSEND)

"Duke Hospital has benefited from the ideas LaFasto and Larson present in this book and is a better organization because of it." 

(MICHAEL D. ISRAEL)

"highly readable. . .convincing. . .a must for academic collections and required reading for professionals seeking to maximize human performance and team productivity." 

(J.B. Kashner)

When Teams Work Best: 6000 Team Members and Leaders Tell What it Takes to Succeed by Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson is a practical, ‘user friendly’ guide to the harnessing power of cooperation and teamwork for increased productivity and effectiveness. Individual chapters address what makes a good team member, what makes a good leader, problem solving methodologies, and how to best promote confidence and trust. When Teams Work Best is very highly recommended for anyone charged with the corporate responsibility for cultivating business group work skills! 

(Midwest Book Review)

The authors have produced an eminently practical guide to success in collaborative teamwork. 

(Academic Library Review)

From the Publisher

"All work in all organizations is done through teamwork. Successful organizations and leaders recognize this and build work environments, structures and skills that allow teams and collaborative behavior to thrive. It's a difficult task however, and "When Teams Work Best" provides an unusually in-depth perspective into why. Based on over 6,000 interviews "When Teams Work Best" provides a rare view of the dynamics at work within organizations and among team members, and provides solid practical advice and tools for improving the effectiveness of all teams. CEO's take note, this one's blunt, useful, and refreshing." Randy Harward, Quality Director, Patagonia, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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For anyone who teaches about teams or leads a team this is a must have book.
Mike Teeley
The book reads as if someone went straight to print with their research paper, rather than making it an engaging read.
D. Moore
The first chapter explores what makes a good team member--abilities and behaviors that matter.
Roger E. Herman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Roger E. Herman on September 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Teams are everywhere-in all kinds of organizations. Some work beautifully to produce wonderful successes; others are miserable failures. Why? The authors conducted research with over 6,000 team members and discovered five factors that determine a team's success: collaboration, relationships, group processes, leadership, and the organizational environment. This book is a report of what they learned, loaded with plenty of advice for increasing team effectiveness.
After an introductory prologue, the book delivers five well-organized chapters that correspond to the factors of success. The first chapter explores what makes a good team member--abilities and behaviors that matter. What determines how collaborative someone will be in a team setting? The second chapter examines relationships among members of teams: what's most important, where are the greatest challenges, and how can you make it all work?
In the third chapter, the authors look into team problem solving. Included are the distinguishing factors of good problem-solving teams, dynamics and processes of solving problems and making decisions, and building systems that support results. Chapter four really digs into the team leader, reviewing six key dimensions of the role. This chapter alone is worth buying this book. Following the research-based model, the last chapter zeros in on the organizational environment. The authors evaluate management practices, structure and processes, and systems in an insightful look at how the environment affects team performance.
Each chapter is preceded by a one-page Snapshot that offers a valuable overview of the chapter. Two indexes and a half-dozen pages of notes add more value to this volume. Good flow, readable, and useful. Recommended as a good tool for team leaders, members, and encouragers in any organization.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By redsfan1358 on April 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book was O.K. but not great. The information could fit in ten to twenty pages - as in a pamphlet.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
When Teams Work Best: 6,000 Team Members And Leaders Tell What It Takes To Succeed by Frank LaFasto (Senior Vice President of Organization Effectiveness for Cardinal health, Inc.) and Carl Larson (Professor of Human Communication, University of Denver) is a practical, "user friendly" guide to the harnessing the power of cooperation and teamwork for increased productivity and effectiveness. Individual chapters address what makes a good team member, what makes a good leader, problem solving methodologies, and how to best promote confidence and trust. When Teams Work Best is very highly recommended for anyone charged with the corporate responsibility for cultivating business group work skills!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Moore on January 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I had this as a text book for an organizational leadership class at the master's degree level. The material is repetitive in its chapter presentations, but the core elements are still good. I just didn't find it to be reader-friendly. For some reason the authors feel compelled to remind the reader every few paragraphs that the responses of more than "6,000 team members" form the basis of their conclusions. I understood that point based on the title and didn't need to be reminded on each page. The book reads as if someone went straight to print with their research paper, rather than making it an engaging read. By chapter 3 I no longer cared about the value of the content, I just hated the book. Seriously. You've been warned.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By George Schott on November 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
One of the most useful books on managing teams that I've read. It combines clearly articulated concepts with practical guidelines fo promoting more productive behaviors within my department and cross-functionally. The checklists, in particular, make this book a hands-on guide that I will pick up to use again and again.
Head of Marketing-Europe, Middle East (Financial Services Sector)
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Format: Hardcover
When we reflect on the volatility across market sectors introduced by globalization and information technologies, and on our organizations' practices and performance over the last two decades, we realize that the world has fundamentally changed while our organizations operate in essentially the same way they always have. Our intuition tells us that our organizations have been left behind.

We suspect that the tried and true hierarchical organizational model that was so successful for most of the 20th century is no longer enough. But how can we abandon the traditional command-and-control management structures that have imparted our organizations and institutions with such rigid strength?

The simple answer: rigid strength can lead to catastrophic failure. Strength is not enough – we also need the resilience that comes from flexibility and adaptability. However, to build flexibility we need to develop the crucial individual capabilities and organizational climate required for effective teaming outside of static reporting structures.

Unfortunately, we generally lump such individual teaming capabilities under the fuzzy definition of 'soft skills.' I would argue that there is nothing soft about 'soft skills': for example, providing or receiving feedback effectively is one of the most difficult skills to develop and also the foundation for reliable and effective teaming performance.

Of course placing all of the non-technical capabilities required for teaming under such a deprecating title as ‘soft skills’ makes it easier for us to dismiss their importance.
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