Tag Archives: Teams

Podcast: Jackie Barretta on Primal Teams

Photo of Jackie Barretta, author of Primal TeamsFind out why team members emotions are so important to business success today in an  AMA Edgewise podcast with Jackie Barretta, author of Primal Teams: Harnessing the Power of Emotions to Fuel Extraordinary Performance.

Jackie Barretta, author of Primal Teams, published by AMACOM, wants you to know that emotions do belong at work. You want people who are positively emotional about a project they’re working on and be happy and motivated to do the work necessary. People think most creatively when they’re in an optimal emotional state. However, emotions like fear and anger are primal emotions that take hold much faster than logic and reason. Instead of sweeping these emotions under the rug, acknowledge them head-on, confront the problem, and create a culture that encourages people to speak up.

Jacket image, Primal Teams by Jackie BarrettaListen to Jackie Barretta on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.

Jackie Barretta is Founding Partner of Nura Group, a consulting firm dedicated to enhancing team innovation and performance. Her work with primal emotions in teams has won her widespread recognition and dozens of prestigious awards.

Listen to more interviews with AMACOM authors on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.

Webinar: A Team of Leaders

Photo of Paul Gustavson and Stewart LiffSoundview Executive Book Summaries is hosting a webinar with Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff, authors of A Team of Leaders: Empowering Every Member to Take Ownership, Demonstrate Initiative, and Deliver Results.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
12 – 1 PM EDT

Imagine having a team where everyone steps up and performs all of the leadership tasks. Imagine a team that is constantly sharing knowledge and pushing the envelope – one that does long term planning and produces outstanding performance.

In this Soundview Live webinar, A Team of Leaders, Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff show attendees how to design systems that nurture the leadership potential of every employee – the key to creating high-performance teams. Filled with real-world examples, this fresh approach transforms passive groups of disparate people into effective teams of leaders – workplace teams that work!

Jacket image, Team of Leaders by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

Paul Gustavson is a former chair of the Marriott School of Management’s OB/HR Advisory Board and founder of OPD, which helps organizations around the world create and sustain high-performance teams. Stewart Liff is a human resources and visual management expert and the author of Managing Government Employees.


Stewart Liff on How To Build Teams of Leaders

Photo of Stewart Liff, coauthor of A Team of LeadersThe following is a guest post by Stewart Liff, co-author with Paul Gustavson of A Team of Leaders: Empowering Every Member to Take Ownership, Demonstrate Initiative and Deliver Results, about building and sustaining outstanding teams where everyone acts as a leader.

In the 2012 SHRM Survey on Employee Satisfaction and Engagement, only one out of every two employees reported that they were completely plugged in at work. Imagine how much productivity is being lost under these circumstances!

Meanwhile, ASTD reported that U.S. organizations spent over $156 billion on learning and development in 2011, with the largest percentage devoted to supervisory development.

The Root Cause

These statistics are clearly distressing and point to what we believe is the root cause: the way work is designed. Simply put, as long as organizations continue to use a structure where the supervisor is the boss and everyone else follows, people will feel devalued and disconnected, supervisors will struggle and performance will suffer.

That is because under this design, everything falls on the supervisor’s shoulders. The supervisor is under constant pressure to perform, makes all of the key decisions, interacts one-one with all of the employees, deals with the difficult people issues, etc. Meanwhile, the employees are expected to do what they are told, feel like they are merely cogs in the wheel, have little authority, autonomy or the chance to be creative, resulting in half feeling disengaged. It’s a classic “lose-lose” situation.

A Better Approach

There’s an old saying, “Organizations are perfectly designed to get the results that they get,” and we believe the above design has been yielding the results we just described. Fortunately, the corollary to this saying is, “If you want to change your results, you need to change your design.”

To have an organization where the employees are involved, engaged and well developed, allowing the supervisor to be freed up to focus on higher-level work, you need to create a team of leaders.

This design has been used in a variety of industries with a great deal of success at every level. It addresses many of the design flaws that the traditional structure has because there is no longer one “all-knowing” boss. Instead, everyone serves as a leader and is involved in all phases of the operation including planning, execution, training, scheduling, and even discipline. The official leader now serves as an advisor to the team and focuses his or her energy in other areas.

How to Develop a Team of Leaders

To successfully transition from a traditional structure to a team of leaders is not easy, because the team will have to move through several stages until it reaches its desired state. Below is an illustration of how the teams move, with the red circle representing the role of the supervisor relative to the team.

Graphic of Stage 1 through 5 Teams.

Graphic provided by Paul Gustavson

As you can see, the supervisor’s role slowly shifts from being “the boss” to primarily working on upper level work, while the group evolves from being individual followers to a team of leaders.

To reach that stage requires time, energy, commitment, patience and careful planning. It cannot simply be rolled out; you need to properly sequence the development of the team and make sure all of the design elements are aligned.

Listed below are the key elements of a successful redesign and implementation effort. Note that every element must fit together so there is balance and focus.

  • The Five-Stage Model – this is used as a framework for thinking to help guide the team’s transition from a traditional approach to a team of leaders.
  • You get what you design for – to create the right design, you must first analyze your environment, processes and culture. You must also connect the team around a sense of purpose.
  • Team processes – teams need to have processes that support a team of leaders (e.g. on-boarding, off-boarding, performance management, etc.) An example of an excellent on-boarding process was recently described by Thomas Friedman in his New York Times Op-Ed column that looked at Google’s hiring practices. For each job, the first thing Google looks for is general learning ability. The second thing is emergent leadership instead of traditional leadership.
  • Value creation model – team members need to know how much value they each create.
  • Knowledge management – a comprehensive plan to manage knowledge will ensure that each member can become a leader.
  • Visual management – designing the team’s physical space to reinforce its other elements is an important but little used approach.

Jacket image, A Team of Leaders by Stewart Liff and Paul GustavsonBuilding a team of leaders using the approach described above will be challenging in the short term, but the payoff can be enormous.

Stewart Liff is an HR and visual management expert, and the president and CEO of Stewart Liff & Associates. His long career with the Department of Veterans Affairs culminated in his office being selected for Vice President Gore’s first Hammer Award for Reinventing Government. He is the author or co-author of six books, including Managing Government Employees and Seeing is Believing.

Podcast: Dennis Perkins on Sailing Directly Into the Storm

Photo of Dennis N.T. Perkins, author of Into the StormOn a recent Edgewise Podcast from American Management Association, Dennis N.T. Perkins, author, with Jillian Murphy, of Into the Storm: Lessons in Teamwork from the Treacherous Sydney to Hobart Ocean Race shared his thoughts on adapting lessons from a dangerous sea adventure to the business world.

Dennis Perkins recalls the story of the AFR Midnight Rambler in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Ocean Race. This race was the most perilous to date as a sudden storm stuck and took the lives of six sailors on the Rambler. However, the other 55 sailors were rescued resulting in the largest search and rescue mission in Australian history. The AFR Midnight Rambler was not the biggest or the most well-equipped ship but due to its unified crew it found a way not only to overcome the horrible storm but also to win the overall race. These skills translate to the business world as well. Even in the worst of situations whether your business is facing a massive change or you’re in a race staring down a major storm, a unified team can just pull of the seemingly impossible.

Listen to the AMA Edgewise podcast with Dennis N.T. Perkins.

Jacket Image, Into the Storm by Dennis N.T. Perkins and Jillian B. MurphyDennis N.T. Perkins is the author, with Jillian B. Murphy, of Into the Storm: Lessons in Teamwork from the Treacherous Sydney to Hobart Ocean Race and Leading at The Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition. He is CEO of The Syncretics Group, a consulting firm devoted to effective leadership and teamwork under conditions of uncertainty, adversity and change.

Listen to more AMA Edgewise Podcast interviews with AMACOM authors.

More Small Business Trends Book Awards!

Four of our titles have been honored with 2013 Small Business Book Awards by Small Business Trends!

Jacket image, The HR Answer Book 2nd Edition by Shawn Smith and Rebecca MazinThe HR Answer Book: An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals by Shawn Smith and Rebecca Mazin was one of the Top 10 Winners Overall.

This book aims to answer the questions that small business owners have about hiring, firing, and other human resources concerns…The HR Answer Book is a reference book that can be read cover-to-cover or as a quick reference in specific situations.

Jacket image, Click Millionaires by Scott Fox
Click Millionaires: Work Less, Live More with an Internet Business You Love by Scott Fox won an award in the Startup category.

 It uses simple language to explain how to combine automated online marketing, expert positioning, and outsourcing to build an Internet business, while working less and setting your own hours…Even if you don’t have a product of your own, the book aims to help you choose an online business model and get started.

Jacket image, High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service by Micah Solomon

High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service: Inspire Timeless Loyalty in the Demanding New World of Social Commerce by Micah Solomon was one of the winners in the Technology category.

This book provides unique insight into today’s crazy-busy customers and dives into how to meet their ever-increasing expectations for instant gratification. Solomon provides strategies that he says any business, large or small, can use to connect with customers on multiple platforms, including social media. The book covers several areas of interest for small business owners.

Jacket Image, Into the Storm by Dennis N.T. Perkins and Jillian B. MurphyInto the Storm: Lessons in Teamwork from the Treacherous Sydney to Hobart Ocean Race by Dennis N.T. Perkins with Jillian B. Murphy won an award in the Leadership category.

Hurricane-force winds howled, reaching speeds of over 100 miles an hour. Waves as tall as 8-story buildings dwarfed the 35-foot sailboat, AFR Midnight Rambler. Yet in spite of the crew’s paralyzing fear, the group held together — and they supported each other with remarkable teamwork.

Congratulations to Shawn, Rebecca, Micah, Scott, Dennis and Jillian.

And thanks again Small Business Trends!

Take a look at other AMACOM books that have won awards.