December 22nd 2010
How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization
Author : Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
First off, I have to say I love the topic of scientific animations. There are however many books on the subject of change that give unfounded advice and tips and anecdotes from personal experience that is not then easily applied to other situations. This book is quite the opposite of that and I am happy to say this book is based entirely on data for its conclusions and everything in it is backed up by a huge 350,000 person survey that was used to identify the characteristics and behaviors of the most effective teams. That is the other element of this book that makes it so wonderful, all of the aspects of change are from the perspective of teams and teamwork in organization and it is easily the best book I’ve read on the subject so far. The authors Gostick and Elton clearly outline their findings and how they break down great teams into specific actions that can not only easily be understood, but replicated since it covers the behaviors of what they do and how they act, instead of their opinions or thoughts on the subject by themselves. The book has a wide range of team topics and it reinforces some of the best practices, which the authors call the basic 4 plus recognition, which are:
- Goal Setting
With each of these areas, there are short point form lists of specific actions that people on breakthrough teams do for each of the 4+ areas. I found these lists to be extremely valuable and a great resource for considering performance, creating regular feedback to encourage and excellent measures for any transformational team. Beyond the basics and these excellent examples of each of those elements, I also really how there is a strong focus though the book on what you can do to actually cultivate a team. This is immensely valuable for any leader and it was explored in a variety of ways to help you gain a high level of engagement from everyone in the team. There are 3 basic concepts behind the breakthrough teams in the research and they are:
- Wow – One word that describes everything from excellence and high standards to impressing customers do more than is expected
- No Surprises – All team members are involved understanding expectations, having open debates and sharing ideas with everyone.
- Cheer – The team fully supports and roots for each other, appreciating great work and encouraging the best.
From the research, Gostick and Elton cite many worldly examples and they develop their case well with these examples of exceptional teamwork and results. Overall, I was pleasantly impressed reading the book, pleased to see many of the examples and activities occurring in my own workplace and I’m happy to have learned many new techniques for enhancing my own team and organization. I am impressed by their writing and thoroughly enjoyed the book and I recommend it to anyone leading a team, interested in leading a team or any managers or executives with influence about the culture or teamwork occurring in their organization. For a sample of Gostick and Elton’s writing, you can see the guest post they authored here a couple months back called, Risky Business: It’s One Way to Build a Breakthrough Team.