By Peter R. Scholtes, Brian L. Joiner, Barbara J. Streibel(550+ words)
There's really no other way to put it. This book is 'the' handbook for building great teams. There is no fluff, no elaborate theories. Only practical advice proven to work. Managers and leaders already know how important a team can be and they know how hard it is to build a great one. This book has all the tools for building those great teams.
“To succeed, organizations must rely on the knowledge, skills, experience, and perspective of a wide range of people to solve multifaceted problems, make good decisions, and deliver effective solutions. This is where dynamic, productive teams can make the difference.”
Full of useful templates and step-by-step guidelines, this a workbook in the best sense of the word. There's lots of white space for notes and plenty of worksheets to help keep everything together. Each area of team development, team management, and team dynamics is covered in great detail.
To build effective teams, it's important first to determine what kind of team is needed. Depending on whether it's a department team, special task team, or some other type, these teams may be permanent or temporary. A sample of different types of teams provides a good understanding of the differences and how they contribute.
These types of teams are some of the more traditional and are usually permanent. They may be departmental teams, production teams, or safety teams. Regardless of their department or focus, they are an essential part of the day-to-day operations. These teams can often be self-managing as long as expectations are clear and results are monitored.
These are specialized teams built to address a specific issue or design a specific solution. They are usually temporary and are often made up of members from different areas of the organization. A project team requires clear direction, deadlines, and detailed focus. These teams need strong leadership and a variety of resources.
Virtual teams are becoming more and more commonplace. These are teams that are physically located outside the organization. They may be in different cities or even in different countries and use technology to interact. They are usually made up of team members with very specific skills and should require very little supervision.
The book expands on even more types of teams and how they are designed for particular needs. The extensive detail provided on the types of teams is a good sample of how this book treats just about every aspect of team building and team management. There just doesn't seem to be any aspect of a team that goes unaddressed, from detailed roles to handling conflict.
Some key points in putting a team together include the need for a team leader, coach, and sponsor. Each of these roles has their own responsibilities to make the team effective and the book provides the details for each role. It's recommended that regardless of the type of team, it's best to have five to seven members in addition to the above roles.
Every team needs certain things to be the most productive. Goals, purposes, boundaries, and access to people in-the-know are just a few of the important points that must be in place. There is plenty of practical advice for managing a team including how to have effective discussions and step-by-step modules for problem-solving.
From improving teams to managing specific types of team members, the book breaks down just about every possible obstacle that great teams face. It's a lot of material and will take time to implement, but the pay-off is finally realizing the full potential of effective teams.