Discipline of Teams: A Mindbook-Workbook for Delivering Small Group Performance
by J. R. Katzenbach, Douglas K. Smith
Who Should Read This Book
Why You Should Read This Book
The Discipline of Teams provides all the tools, frameworks and exercises you need to achieve performance in small groups, whether at the top, middle or front lines of your organization. It updates The Wisdom of Teams in explaining:
What You'll Learn
The Discipline of Teams helps small groups implement the disciplines, frameworks, tools, and techniques that enable performance. With detailed guidance and dozens of indispensable exercises, they present a regimen proven to improve performance and help groups adhere to the Six Basic Principles of Team Discipline:
Keep team membership small
Ensure that members have complementary skills
Develop a common purpose
Set common goals
Establish a commonly agreed upon working approach
Integrate mutual and individual accountability
The Discipline of Teams is an indispensable resource for any small group in any organization that wants to raise the bar by setting and achieving more ambitious performance goals again and again.
"Katzenbach and Smith's work on teams over the past fifteen years has been called 'essential', 'path breaking', and 'the best ever' by Business Week, The Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Financial Times, Fast Company, Leader to Leader, and other publications around the world. Millions of people from the executive suite to the front lines in tens of thousands of teams have applied Katzenbach and Smith's disciplines to deliver performance and change that matters to their organizations, customers, shareholders, funders and themselves."
reviewer: Donald Mitchell, Boston
A team makes sense when you need to accomplish something more than what individual performances will give you. A good example comes in new product development. Each specialist can do a good job, and the project can easily be a bust. By thinking together, potential failure can become success by tweaking each perspective in new ways. The authors also point out that many times goals are set that sound like individual performance, but better goals would set directions requiring a team.
An effective team needs to have:
(1) an understandable charter
(2) communicate and coordinate effectively
(3) have clear roles and responsibilities for individuals
(4) use time-efficient processes and
(5) have a sense of accountability.
"Whenever a small group can deliver performance through the combined sum of individual contributions, then the single-leader discipline is the most effective choice."
The book provides many ways to make both teams and single-leader groups work better. In fact, it focuses on those areas that are most likely to cause problems, like poorly defined goals, keeping the size of the group as small as possible, not having the skills needed, time pressures, and using the wrong leadership discipline). I also liked the fact that the book looked at the question of when you should fold a team.
The authors clearly understand a great deal about making teams more effective, and anyone can learn from this book. I think those who liked The Wisdom of Teams will find it to be a useful refresher with some valuable new material.
The book contains many exercises and workbook questions that I happily endorse. They make the book much more practical and useful. If you just did the exercises and the workbook questions, this would be a five star book. The explanations are just icing on the cake.
After you have finished this book, I also suggest you think about whether you have set the right priorities in your organization. Realizing that you can only do a few things at once, what should they be? Be sure to give yourself a chance to pick tasks that will benefit from teams.
Find ways to make human cooperation more beneficial . . . for that's our strength!"
Books by Douglas K. Smith