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What Must Go Right/What Can Go Wrong

First Edition

August 1989 | 152 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Leadership Solutions

What are the secrets of successful teams? Why do some teams achieve remarkable success while others fail or are consigned to mediocrity? To find the answers, Carl E. Larson and Frank M. J. LaFasto conducted a three-year study of teams and team achievement. Interviewing a wide range of teams, including the space shuttle Challenger investigation team, executive management teams and a championship football team, Larson and LaFasto discovered a surprising consistency in the characteristics of effective teams.

In Teamwork, they explore the eight properties of successful teams: a clear, elevating goal; a results-driven structure; competent team members; unified commitment; collaborative climate; standards of excellence; external support and recognition; and principled leadership. A final chapter examines the priority of the steps that lead to the building of a high performance team. The authors strive to make the concepts concrete, coupling solid theory with straightforward, practical advice on how to apply it and with lively, fascinating anecdotes.

The volume will appeal to practitioners, scholars, and advanced students in the areas of organization studies and management, as well as interpersonal communication.

"We believe it is an important book that will be very useful to the sport psychology community. Its brief and readable nature makes it an ideal supplementary text for courses in the social psychology of sport or sport-related group dynamics. It could also be used in research methods courses to provide insight into qualitative data collection procedures. In addition, coaches and mental skills consultants will find much valuable information here about the evaluation and enhancement of team functioning. Finally, researchers will be intrigued by Larson and LaFasto's eight-category framework and their brief description of a rating-scale instrument designed to assess these dimensions of team effectiveness. Given this diversity of potential uses, we urge our colleagues to examine Teamwork for themselves."
--The Sport Psychologist

"(A) superb effort conducted by the authors. . . . A must read."
--HR Planning Newsletter

"Teamwork attempts an ambitious goal in a small number of pages and succeeds quite well. . . . The authors have useful and interesting things to say--things that fit well with what other studies and authors have concluded and with what the teams they studied experienced and concluded. A prime audience for this book would be managers and team members with a modest 'academic bent' who want guidance on how to make their teams work more effectively and who are willing to listen to the reasons why the authors make their suggestions and how they reach their conclusions. Students and academics who are looking for a wise and balanced attempt to capture what we seem to be learning about what works in groups should also find this refreshingly short volume valuable."
--Journal of Management

"Larson and LaFasto provide a brief, efficient, and well-focused checklist of principles for managing group processes. The authors report on the results of a relatively systematic, 3-year program on in-depth interviews with participants from 'successful teams'--e.g., a Mount Everest expedition; DeBakey-Cooley cardiac surgery teams; a Notre Dame championship football team; several business executive and project management teams; Presidential cabinets; and disaster response teams--to come up with some '. . . distinguishing features of effectively functioning teams. . . .' Practicing managers should have no difficulty identifying with anecdotes described in this book. A list of characteristics parallels the chapter outlines of this good organizational behavior textbook written from a management process perspective. . . . It is hard to imagine a more efficient way to capture the fundamentals than the way Larson and LaFasto have done it. Newly appointed supervisors without a formal organizational behavior and management process course--and any practicing manager who could use a quick brushup--will find this guidebook useful."
--Human Resource Planning

"Teamwork [is] one of the best and most concise handbooks on team management around. No one interested in teamwork should miss reading this guide."
--The Learning Edge

Toward Understanding Teams and Teamwork
A Clear, Elevating Goal
Results-Driven Structure
Competent Team Members
Unified Commitment
Collaborative Climate
Standards of Excellence
External Support and Recognition
Principled Leadership
Inside Management Teams

"Team Work is one of the best and most concise handbooks on team management around. No one interested in teamwork should miss reading this guide." 

The Learning Edge

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