Teamwork: What Must Go Right/What Can Go Wrong (1989) by Carl E. Larson and Frank M.J. LaFasto was recommended by Fr. Ron Nuzzi and I’ll pass on the recommendation with enthusiasm.  The book is based in the premise that if members from successful teams were interviewed, perhaps a profile of successful teams could be constructed.  The authors identified successful teams from across the spectrum (athletics, corporations, hospitals, etc) and then tried to isolate the effective traits and habits of teams.

The authors identify 8 characteristics of high-performing teams and devote a chapter to each:

  1. A clear, elevating goal
  2. Results-driven structure
  3. Competent members
  4. Unified commitment
  5. Collaborative environment
  6. Standards of excellence
  7. External support and recognition
  8. Principled leadership

Rather than recount each of the characteristics, I’ll make a plug for the book.  It’s not long and it’s so old (1989!) that it just reads differently.  So I read it like a history book—reading for the interpretation of the times.  But I can also see how these characteristics have made their way into the next generation of business books.  It’s a great way to examine your school and analyze how well you are working.

Here’s another summary and additional resources.

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