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When Teams Work Best: 6,000 Team Members and Leaders Tell What it Takes to Succeed [Hardcover]

Frank M. J. LaFasto , Carl Larson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 2001 0761923667 978-0761923664 1

What makes some teams achieve extraordinary outcomes, while other fall disappointingly short of the mark?

Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson have systematically explored that question for more than 20 years. In 1989, they published the best-selling book TeamWork; What Must Go Right/What Can Go Wrong, which reported the results of an in-depth study of some of the most successful teams in recent history and identified the eight characteristics of high performance teams.

When Teams Work Best advances this groundbreaking research by probing more deeply inside the workings of hundred of teams—some effective and some faltering. For over a decade, the authors collected and analyzed responses from more than 6,000 team members and leaders across a variety of industries, in both public and private sectors, to find out exactly what conditions help or hinder teams in achieving their goals. The voices of these team members—often eloquent, always enlightening—are heard through the quotations that appear throughout the book.


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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.

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: #306,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, Practical 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
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not great. 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
5.0 out of 5 stars A guide to the harnessing the power of cooperation 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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Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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
5.0 out of 5 stars When Teams Work Best 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctorate Reference Book
Excellent reference book for my doctorate program. I received it on time and in excellent condition. Amazon is my go to place for all reading materials.
Published 10 months ago by vnobriga
2.0 out of 5 stars Dry Read
I had to use it for a class or I would not have purchased it. It was a very dry read to say the least
Published 15 months ago by Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Business Owners
This is a great book for my growing business. Teamwork is a huge part in building my company and This is the best book I have found on what makes teams successful.
Published 22 months ago by n.york
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great easy to read book that can be used practically and immediately. Great for any manager or leader wanting to improve their team.
Published on June 10, 2012 by J
5.0 out of 5 stars Theory into action
This is a terrific text. Lafasto and Larson have made sense out of a lot of data in a way that makes it exceptionally readable. Read more
Published on April 10, 2011 by Mike Teeley
3.0 out of 5 stars Tolerable but unremarkable...
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... Read more
Published on January 13, 2011 by Chad Oberholtzer
4.0 out of 5 stars When Teams Work Best
This book is a good resource for anyone working on a team. There are easy to follow examples and graphs. It is a pretty easy read.
Published on April 6, 2009 by A. McGowan
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on teams
This is the best book on teams! If I could have given it more stars I would. A definite MUST read. This will be your reference bible on teams from now onward.
Published on December 27, 2005 by vector_func
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