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on April 9, 2015
A very good book where he recycles (a polite word) all the ideas of Bion without giving Bion any of the credit. How to get ahead in life, right?

Also this is completely outdated look based on the 1990s where we were supposedly building a stable highly trained workforce of happy employees on well defined career paths.
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on October 27, 2015
Hackman could have made each point faster and much more concise. Something that should take only a few paragraphs to explain seemed to take the author many pages and often the additional content became a distraction. Often I would have to read the material more than once to determine value add vs. non-value add content.
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on October 5, 2012
I bought this book as a textbook for a course on leading teams and read it cover to cover. The Hackman model is a nice model and eye opener for anyone who has never given deep thought on team effectiveness and the border context teams are in. However more sophisticated readers may find it to be lacking in several aspects and should invest their time on other team

The Hackman model appears to before concerned with setting the stage for teams to perform well instead of directly helping teams to improve. Therefore this model doesn't say much about conflict management, managing diversity and authority, and a bunch of other important stuff to keep the team running. It's also lacking as a guidance for leaders to improve their performance as Hackman has a tendency to say "this is very hard to balance" without giving ideas on how to balance the issue, and leaving the readers much in the dark after reading the book (thoug I admit it's too much to ask for, this is a team book and not a leadership book after all).

For more sophisticated readers and who has previous exposure to team theories, I would recommend Roger Schwarz's The Skilled Facilitator. It gives a good summary in first 2 chapters and quickly moves on to more hands on and actionable recommendations. For those with no previous experience in this field before, Hackman model is a classic model and it might be worth a read. Just don't stop here as this book will not answer all your questions.
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on February 15, 2013
I saw this book referenced in a Harvard Business Review blog post and it was regarded as one of the "standards" by which other work is measured. So, I checked out the author and other references. All of the references treated this work the same- as the "standard".

I am not disappointed. The text has many real-world (understandable) examples and information with explanations that are well thought out and presented. If you're tired of business books that are an academic's view of the real world, you will find this book refreshing. It is real-world, easily read, explains a lot and is worth every penny.

If you manage or work in a dysfunction team or group, or just want to understand them, this is your book. If the "written by a Harvard Professor" label worries you into thinking that this book is just an academic exercise, don't let it. This book is readable and contains a lot of good information and examples.
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on December 10, 2016
Love the depth of knowledge presented with an understandable approach given on team dynamics. I think that all managers and team members should read this book.
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on December 15, 2016
A great book, complex matter, nice to read. Hackman new everything about teams and can tell about it
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on February 20, 2017
I need to sell this book back no use for it
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on March 8, 2008
Leading teams is the best book on the topic of teams that I've read so far. It's very well structured, well researched, well written and full of useful information that can be used in real life to improve teams.

The book consists of three parts of which part II is the main content of the book. Part I is called "challenge" and starts with an comparison of two different airline companies who have different strategies of improving service quality. One using self-directed team and one using more strict processes and procedures. It explains the advantages and disadvantages of the team approach and puts the challenge to how we can create an environment in which a productive team can work. Hackman then proposes five enabling conditions for getting team to work:

1. A real team
2. Compelling direction
3. Enabling structure
4. Supportive context
5. Expert coaching

Each of these are clarified in the five main chapters.

A real team is defined at having four features: a team task, clear boundaries, defined authority and some stability in members. Each of these is clarified and backed up with very interesting research data.

A compelling direction, a clear goal needs to be set for the team. This energizes the team. The chapter on compelling team has some very interesting material on fixing the process or fixing the goal.

Enabling structure builds also on earlier work done by Richard Hackman and talks about structuring the team and structuring the task that the team needs to do. When both of these are structured then they will enable the team and create a possibility of a really well working, highly productive team.

In supportive context, the rest of the organizational context is discussed. This includes the rewarding system (something I didn't always agreed with the author, though he makes very valid points!), the learning system and the technical supporting system.

In the last of the five points, he more or less focuses on the team leader role. The team leaders role as a coach of the team. He earlier states that the team leader role is certainly overrated, though it still is important. He describes how a team leader can coach the team.

Part III is the closing part of the book. It summarizes some of the earlier conclusions. It consists of one chapter that makes recommendations for moving forward with team in the organization. Then the last chapter the author the author discusses common obstacles and speculates about the future of teams.

Overall, the book was an excellent read. Funny at times, well structured and excellent references. Of all the team-related books, this one stands out. One of the reasons for standing out is that its more based on research than about speculation (like many team books). A must read when you are working in or with teams.
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on November 23, 2015
It is used as a text book for a class I am taking but have found it to be very helpful.
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on June 4, 2016
Excellent practice advice on leading teams.
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