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The New Why Teams Don't Work: What Goes Wrong and How to Make It Right 2nd Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1576751107
ISBN-10: 1576751104
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Why Teams Dont Work is that rarest of beasts: a book of truths."Jim Kane, Amazon.com

"Finley and Robbins set us on a compelling journey to teams success by helping us see and embrace the secrets we often hide from ourselves and our teammates." Richard J. Leider, author of The Power of Purpose and coauthor of Repacking Your Bags

"This is an immensely helpful book. Finley and Robbins show that the secret of great teams isnt found in buzzwords or gimmicks, but in bringing out the best in every individual. Their suggestions are compassionate, yet tough-minded and practical."Robert K. Cooper, Ph.D., author of The Performance Edge and Executive EQ

"Robbins and Finley are provocative writers the read is fast, funny, and highly stimulating."Business Book Review

About the Author

A practicing psychologist, business consultant, trainer, and author specializing in teams and organizational behavior with clients.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 2nd edition (January 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576751104
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576751107
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #842,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you're going to read this book, be prepared. This is not a book of sports metaphors. This is not a ritualistic hosanna to the glory of teams. This is not "rah, rah, sis-boom-boaster, teams are the best thing since the wide-slot toaster."
In fact, Why Teams Don't Work is that rarest of beasts: a book of truths. Using language that is remarkably entertaining, honest, and brief, Robbins and Finley dissect the hackneyed assumptions about teams to explain why so many companies that switched to teams "have not been experiencing the organizational bliss they counted on." A simple matrix of fourteen team problems, symptoms, and solutions - one of the blessedly few diagrams in the book - sets the tone. Teams don't work because they're made up of people: people who don't communicate, people who are uncertain, people who lack feedback and tools, people who are (surprise!) reluctant to jump on a live grenade to save the team.
A recipe for pessimism? Not at all. The authors' antidote to "happy talk" team books emphasizes common sense recommendations.
* "Form teams only when they make sense."
* "Adapt your style to suit the needs of whoever you're communicating with."
* Since there are at least six ways to make a team decision, "the important thing is that the team decide, in advance, what decision making method will be used."
* "The more goals and objectives a team is handed, the worse their performance will be. If a task doesn't appear on the high priority, short-term goals/objectives list, the hell with it."
These may not sound like epiphanies, but they are ultimately more practical than rhapsodic cheerleading or abstruse four-box models.
Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While this book presents valuable lessons, I could only give it 3 stars for these reasons:
1. The most basic lessons on the human side of management are presented. Anyone with more than the most minimal experience, either participating on or managing teams, surely must have an equal or better knowledge on the subject.
2. Much is out of sync with modern business culture. While I support the importance of personal accountability and transparency, this book supports it to a level which the world of 2015 just will not tolerate. Such noble principles needed this kind of support at the time of the first printing when their decline had recently began. Today's culture has "progressed " beyond the point where most people have no memory of them.
I would guess that this material would be a terrific "ear-tickler" to today's youngest generation of managers.

If to you, the concepts presented seem novel or of special understanding, they aren't really. You are a noobie who needs to be shown core human values that will never diminish in value.
If it's all old hat to you, perhaps you'll recognize the excellent organization and flowing storytelling that makes this a validating, if not fun read.
It might just remind you of some valuable core concepts which have fallen out of popular favor.

This book is more of "apply sparingly" than "lather, rinse, repeat".
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Format: Paperback
Teams have been touted as efficient, creative and able to innovate quickly for many years now. In this flood of books, articles and teamwork guru's, many organizations have been changing their organizational structure from traditional managerial hierarchies to team-based work. Unfortunately, teams don't always bring the results that management was hoping for. Why not?

Authors Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley say that there are many reasons why teams may not be working, but the principle one is that managers have forgotten that teams are made up of human beings. A team is not a piece of machinery that can be assembled and then turned on. It is a collection of human beings with all their various faults, ambitions, and insecurities, who are attempting to work together. Using teams does not mean that leadership is no longer required. Teams need to be led, motivated and nurtured. The strength of teams is creative, an opportunity to bring the expertise of many different people together to reach a common goal. When teams are used simply as cost-cutting devices to replace middle management, this primary strength of teams is being ignored.

Here is some of the advice the authors have for building and maintaining successful teams:

· Make sure the team members remain focused on the common goal.

· Make sure that the goal is clear to everyone and attainable in small steps.

· Make sure the team knows who their customer is.

· Make sure the roles of different team members are clear, and everyone knows who is responsible who which decisions.

· Listen to the concerns and conflicts of all team members. Take action to address their concerns.
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Format: Paperback
I started off with a great deal of hope for this book, and nearly finished with it I am very disappointed. If I would have sat down before I read this book and listed some common sense principles related to teams, I would have put down about 90% of the concepts in this book. That doesn't necessairly bother me about this book, because business isn't always rocket science. The problem is the book is long on fluffy discussions, and short on the nuts and bolts aspect. What studies support their assertions, what does the research say about teams? Even beyond that, give me some ideas for how to accomplish what you say about teams. Give some kind of practical use, or practical application of your theories. I think what was the final straw for me, was when they began rehashing some basic motivational theories withouth mentioning them by name, or even fully discussing them. This book tries to be a lot more than its title proclaims it to be, or it is capable of being. Robbins is a psychologist, who I thought would really be able to add some understanding to what goes on in teams. Unfortunately, that is all but absent from this book. Finley, appears to be one of the dime-a-dozen business writers who reword common concepts and try to resell them. Most of the book winds up blaming management for the cause of team failure instead of helping people become more effective teammates. I usually stick to reading books about specific companies, because those contain real world examples and are usually written by much more credible sources. I strayed in this case, and got burned. Hopefully you won't. If you have an MBA, skip this book, you have already heard it.
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