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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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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc; 1 edition (August 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761923667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761923664
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.5 x 1 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: #244,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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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5 of 6 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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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chad Oberholtzer on January 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read this book as an assigned text for a seminary course on team leadership. As the authors explain up front (and then repeat, ad nauseam), they compiled research from over 6,000 employees to gather their feedback on their various experiences of working in teams. And that research yielded some interesting results that may help to instruct any of us who want to effectively lead teams.

There is no question that some very helpful stuff emerged from the research for this book. LaFasto and Larson make compelling arguments that teams only function well in the context of supportive and open environments. They describe the need for candor and accountability. They acknowledge the need for trust and empowerment from team leaders to team members. All of this is good stuff. But the presentation of their conclusions was utterly stale and lifeless. Rather than speaking in specifics and offering actual examples from real-life companies, everything was discussed in abstract generalities. Jim Collins has influenced millions of leaders by discussing the actual dynamics at play in particular businesses, presenting the analysis of business management in story form. It's an engaging approach, one that LaFasto and Larson would do well to consider. Instead, we are left with a million varieties of "a common response from the 6,000 team members who were interviewed was..."

My other primary critique of this book is its repetitive nature. The chapters were organized around clearly differentiated categories (i.e. how to lead a team, how to participate on a team, etc.), but that approach isn't helpful if the same conclusions pop up over and over again. Yes, team leaders need to trust. And team members need to trust.
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6 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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