Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Reading

Once presents have been opened and put away, egg nog consumed and relatives on their way, many forward thinking CEO's will be taking advantage of the Christmas break to catch up on their reading.

But their literary excursions will be focused less on relaxing forms of recreation.

They will instead, be reading to reflect and re-energize.

The peace on earth over the next week or so, combined with the perfect holiday book, can offer enormous insights into key areas of business and brand-building that could tip the balance for any company heading into 2009. And perhaps, more than ever, TSB believes organizations will succeed or fail next year for one reason; the people involved.

Because that's what an organization is.

To believe that organizations we belong to are a type of monolithic force that controls what we do is plain wrong, since organizations are made up of people. It is people who decide to function as a unified team or not.

But, just because everyone wears the same uniform doesn't mean they are a team.

Just ask the members of any political party or real estate brokerage where deep down, (no matter what they say to the contrary), every individual is truly out for themselves; nurturing, protecting and defending their own self-interest. For a team to truly be called a TEAM (as opposed to a work group) it must rally around one common goal that serves the greater good of all of its members with each player willing to sacrifice (to a point) their own self-interest for the good of the squad.

Few challenges are as daunting as the task of making the whole greater than the sum of its parts as far as people is concerned. Few did it better than legendary coach Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers, who captured 5 NFL titles over a 7-year span back in the 1960's. Lombardi maintained that people who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.

But, how you get them do to that is another question all together, and if Lombardi were alive today, we'd be willing to gamble on 4th-and-1, that he would highly recommend one of the best books ever written on this subject.

Today on TSB, we offer a sneak peek at "Five Dysfunctions of a Team" from Patrick Lencioni.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that on a team:


However, this touchy-feely bromide fails to address the all-important aspect of personal accountability, necessary to take any team to the next level. Contrary to what many believe, there is an "I in T.E.A.M." since teams are made up of individuals, each with the potential to serve as a gain or a drain to the organization they belong to.

Think about your own organization.

Are you seeing enough players who care more about the logo on the front of their sweater than the name on the back?

Is it possible that the "Five Dysfunctions" are robbing your team of its true potential?

Could this be the right time to assess where your team is heading over the next 12 months and what it's going to take to correct its course?

What if the invesment of time in one book could help your team find comfort and joy in 2009?

Would that be a present worth giving?

"Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work" VINCE LOMBARDI

p.s... If your team is heading into 2009 somewhat battered and beaten, perhaps the words of coach Tony D'Amato will have a rallying effect as he helps the Miami Sharks implicitly understand the first of the "Five Dysfunctions".


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