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The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High Performance Organization,

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  465 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews

Teams — the key to top performance

Motorola relied heavily on teams to surpass its competition in building the lightest, smallest, and highest-quality cell phones. At 3M, teams are critical to meeting the company's goal of producing half of each year's revenues from the previous five years' innovations. Kodak's Zebra Team proved the worth of black-and-white film manufactu

Hardcover, 260 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by 1993 (first published 1992)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,360)
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Timothy Darling
If you need to work in teams, this is a good book for you to read. The authors focus strongly on task as the single most important factor of team function and formation. They insist that building a team while focusing on the team itself is a big mistake. Rather the team should focus on the purpose for which they were assembled, each having a significant contribution to make to the goal. Focusing on team building and interpersonal dynamics are merely distractions.

The authors build a case for thei
Jarrod Jenkins
Nov 14, 2011 Jarrod Jenkins rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
Slogging through this crap was one of the more unpleasant reading experiences I've had. The only thing worse than a terrible topic for a book is a terrible topic poorly executed. The topic: teams and teamwork. The execution: nothing more than extremely general, common sense points, sometimes listed. I learned literally nothing worthwhile. One can envision middle and upper managers thinking this book will inspire their underlings to come together as great teams and perform well at the tasks assig ...more
Danny Daley
Like most business books, this was a bit too anecdotal for me. Light reading, definitely backed up by data but far too reliant on stories and examples built upon narrative. I think the greatest strength of the book is its counter-intuitive nature. Across the board, many of the author's conclusions go against the grain of assumed thinking on team building, but the best of their many arguments is a reinforcement of something that I've believed for a long time - chemistry on teams is vastly overrat ...more
Jeff Lampson
This book is a classic and grew my appetite for reading their follow up books The discipline of teams and Teams at the Top. Their definitions for teams is incredibly helpful and identifies very clear team structure, behavior and attributes:
-Small number of people
-Complementary Skills
-Committed to a common purpose
-Performance Goals
-Collaborative Approach
-Mutually Accountable

They provide the richest and most candid discussion of the unique issues of Executive Team and whether or not they should ac
Marc Wachtfogel
Nov 07, 2015 Marc Wachtfogel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
This is a thought provoking read with many takeaways. The authors take a somewhat firm stand (I appreciate a more integrative and flexible approach) on what they believe (based on their studies) a real team is made of. They provide numerous examples to support their claims. For example, they assert that "real teams" do not have a leader, are self managing, share leadership through collaboration and possess a shared vision. They describe the environments where these teams thrive and the steps org ...more
Borna Safai
Dec 24, 2015 Borna Safai rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
What is it that makes teams strong? According to Katzenbach and Smith, it's an emphasis on performance. That's the essence of the book in a nutshell.

So why should you read it? The Wisdom of Teams shares a number of stories and experiences from companies of different scale, and how they managed to progress through the different stages of groups and teams to become high-performing teams. Overall, the main point that is being made is that groups don't become high-performing on their own, and especi
The Thousander Club
Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts . . .

"My current occupation is as a Business Analyst for a specialty pharmacy. It has been a wonderful learning experience as I've acclimated to the role and its requirements. Just like with other areas of my life, I dislike not knowing what can be known. Generally, my non-fiction reading list is packed full of political science and historical books since I have such a passion for both. Yet, especially over the last several months, I have felt a desire to increas
Nov 18, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty decent business book. I read it shortly after my company underwent a major reorganization, shifting functionality from silos to teams. The book spells out how teams are structured and developed. In my experience, high performance teams, alas, are elusive. Even if the structure can be discerned, and developed, ultimately the effectiveness of teams are largely driven by a mutually agreed upon vision that translates into a passion that eventually exhausts itself. A team can be cohe ...more
Jan 17, 2011 Greg rated it liked it
Shelves: business
I give this book only 3 stars because it reads like a book for business school. It is too narrative in presentation and lacks the important cut-to-the-chase summaries of books meant to go into practical use for a busy executive. It is an advocacy piece for the authors' contention that teams, as they define them, are the wave of the future - i.e., they are trying to kick off the latest management fad. Don't get me wrong, the book includes some very relevant examples and good advice, it is just bu ...more
Gerard Chiva
The book contains important wisdom about team performance in organizations, however it is written in an old style like a novel. After reading it, I'm quite sure they could have written it in 1/3 of the size and would be much more readable and pedagogic.

This book would improve by reducing storytelling and examples, adding summaries at the end of each chapter and some charts, tables and bullet points.

Although, it is poorly written, I still recommend it to coaches, team leaders and managers.
Jan 24, 2016 Tomek rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very abstract, but a few good cases are there
THE WISDOM OF TEAMS is probably the standard text on the topic, and as such is a solid, comprehensive resource. It's probably a bit too "academic" for most executives (the people who will value it most are consultants or OD folks who work with teams and organizations), and some of the examples will come across as a little dates, but the core ideas are important and spot-on, including the now-well-known and useful distinction between "teams" and "working groups."
Aug 08, 2012 JoAnn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A clearly-written, useful work that helps define what makes a work group truly a team. Asserts that a team is clearly distinguished from a work team by the degree of interdependence its members have, along with agreeing on an approach to get the work done. Good balance between concepts and practical advice. Succinctly describes high performance work teams and the authenticity such teams bring out, even demand of their members.
Jun 21, 2008 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoughtful and well-written, this book is based on the authors' unusually perceptive and realistic experience and conclusions with high performing teams. It incorporates very practical and powerful tools and counsel for anyone leading teams, whether in our professional or personal lives. This is required reading in my college class on team leadership!
Matt Moran
A study of teamwork and why teams have the potential to be the best, most flexible and most productive way of accomplishing difficult work. The main point of the book is that teams have to have a relentless focus on performance - this is what makes a group of people working together truly a team.

Repetitive and poorly written, but still helpful.
Reggie Walker
Jul 24, 2011 Reggie Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As books on team building go, this is one of the best. Well researched, effectively delivered information about creating powerful teams, real teams. For those who are still thinking they can change the name of a work group or committee to 'a team' and get real change and improved productivity - read this book.
Virginia Lacefield
Apr 08, 2010 Virginia Lacefield rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ldp
Not bad! Good case studies, main points a little repetitive, but generally solid. Could use some updating/revision, though - using Enron as an example of great teamwork is not so motivating these days. :(
Jan 24, 2009 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stopped-reading
The writing is insufferable. Truly awful. And since it was written by fellow McKinsey men, I really wanted to like this book. Although the ideas about teams are fine, the book is terrible.
Nov 24, 2008 Heidi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: npo-management
Very for-profit centered, although it does have extensive step-by-step chapters for those who find themselves already using this model.
Al Czarnecki
Oct 07, 2015 Al Czarnecki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clearly illustrates what a true team is and how to build one, using case studies. As readable as it is practical.
Apr 18, 2009 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent examples of teaming - and what works. This is not my first read of this book, but is worth reviewing.
True to its title, this book indeed contains gems of wisdom about teams.
Colin Jones
Not great. Maybe it would be helpful if I had no idea what a team was?
Michael Rushnak
One is powerful but if a team acts as one, the team is supreme
Kristie Castellini
Excellent framework for effective team design
Jan 09, 2013 Courtney rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2013, for-class
For class...
Apr 22, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: Grad school
Shelves: graduate-school
Grad school
Andre marked it as to-read
Aug 25, 2016
Justyna marked it as to-read
Aug 24, 2016
Gary Fixler
Gary Fixler marked it as to-read
Aug 24, 2016
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