The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization
by J. R. Katzenbach, Douglas K. Smith

Who Should Read This Book

  • Team leaders
  • Team members
  • Executives and managers
  • HR professionals
  • Academics
  • Anyone facing cross-functional challenges
  • Anyone facing the challenge of change
  • Anyone wishing to learn the most critical management discipline for success in the 21st century: teaming

Why You Should Read This Book

The Wisdom of Teams is the 'must read' management classic that sparked a worldwide revolution in how small groups from the executive suite to the front lines deliver performance and change. It blends research, team stories and insight to explain why:

  • Commitment to performance goals and shared purpose is more critical to team success than team building exercises
  • Opportunities for team performance exist at all levels of an organization
  • Formal hierarchy can often be good for effective teaming - and vice versa
  • Successful team leaders do not fit any ideal profile and are not necessarily the most senior people on the team
  • No successful change effort happens without real teams
  • Top management teams are often smaller and more difficult to sustain
  • Team performance remains the single largest untapped resource of most organizations

What You'll Learn

  • The six part discipline of successful teaming
  • Why performance is the primary driver of successful teams instead of the 'desire to be a team'
  • The three major types of teams in organizations, and the challenges unique to each
  • The difference between the team discipline and the single leader discipline
  • The team performance curve and how to climb it
  • Why pseudo-teams are so damaging and how to recognize and prevent them
  • How to recognize and take full advantage of extraordinarily high performance teams
  • What makes team leaders effective versus ineffective; and, how anyone can learn to be an effective team leader
  • The obstacles that get teams stuck and what to do about them
  • Why team endings are often as critical as team beginnings
  • What's different about 'teams at the top' and how to tap into their potential
  • The essential link between teams and change
  • A Q&A guide (in the paperback edition) that answers questions raised by the millions of users of this book over the past decade


"A thoughtful and well-written book filled with fascinating examples. . . You will be hard-pressed to find a better guide to the essential building block of the organization of the future." John Byrne, Business Week

"An unusually thorough study of teams...As well as challenging much conventional wisdom about teams, the book is full of advice about how to organize proper--and properly effective--teams." Financial Times

"The Wisdom of Teams captures the power and vision of what great business teams can accomplish. Its stories and lessons should be read and learned." Senator Bill Bradley

"Jon Katzenbach and Doug Smith have lived with high performance teams for years. Now they share their meticulous observations with all of us in an important and timely book, brimming with useful detail."
Tom Peters



Books by Douglas K. Smith

On Value and Values : Thinking Differently About We in an Age of Me Douglas K. Smith

The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization
J. R. Katzenbach, Douglas K. Smith

The Discipline of Teams: A Mindbook-Workbook for Delivering Small Group Performance J. R. Katzenbach, Douglas K. Smith.

Make Success Measurable: A Mindbook-Workbook for Managing Performance Douglas K. Smith

Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer Douglas K. Smith, R. C. Alexander

Taking Charge of Change: 10 Principles for Managing People and Performance Douglas K. Smith

Sources of the African Past David Robinson, Douglas K. Smith

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