Teams That Work Book Summary By Scott Tannenbaum and Eduardo Salas

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Teams That Work is the must-have reference book for any team looking to improve their performance.

Coauthors Scott Tannenbaum and Eduardo Salas have written an incredibly comprehensive guide that draws on their many years of experience helping teams succeed.

The book covers the seven drivers that can make your team more effective: commitment, communication, collaboration, learning, leadership, problem-solving and trust.

It's packed with real-world examples and the latest research to provide you with everything you need to know in order to help your team become more efficient and successful.

Teams That Work Book

Book Name: Teams That Work (The Seven Drivers of Team Effectiveness)

Author(s): Scott Tannenbaum and Eduardo Salas

Rating: 4.5/5

Reading Time: 24 Minutes

Categories: Corporate Culture

Author Bio

Scott Tannenbaum is a world-renowned expert on organizational effectiveness.

As president of the Group for Organizational Effectiveness, he has spent over 25 years helping hundreds of businesses and organizations reach their full potential.

He was a professor of business management and has published numerous articles in leading journals related to his research.

His book, Teams That Work, provides invaluable insights on how to create effective teams that get results.

Seven Drivers Of Effective Teamwork: How To Make Your Team Unstoppable

Effective Teamwork

Teamwork is an essential skill, but it doesn’t come naturally.

We all need to learn the fundamentals of effective teamwork in order to get the most out of our teams and ensure we can work seamlessly and efficiently together.

Teams That Work offers readers insight into the science behind teamwork, providing guidance on the seven different aspects of effective teamwork that contribute to performance success.

You’ll learn from stories collected from leading kitchens around the world, discover why disasters have occurred on Mount Everest, and how senior leadership attitudes can affect how well a team works together.

With these knowledge and tips engrained in your memory, you will be well-prepared to make sure your team is as successful as possible.

Teamwork Can’t Compensate For A Lack Of Skills And Capabilities, But It Is Still A Vital Element Of Successful Teams

Teamwork is a learned skill, but it cannot compensate for underlying deficiencies in a team’s capabilities.

This doesn’t mean that you should ignore teamwork at all–investing in making a team more effective pays dividends.

But it does mean that you can’t skimp on technical knowledge or expertise and expect your team to perform well without those skills.

Scott Tannenbaum found this out the hard way when his intramural basketball team was soundly beaten by an opposing team with superior athletic ability.

Despite their intangibles, like spirit and determination, his squad simply didn’t have the skills to compete meaningfully against the other side.

What kind of capabilities do teams need? Research has identified four primary categories: good communication habits, providing and understanding feedback, managing conflict effectively, and having strong interpersonal skills like empathy and understanding body language.

Teams which demonstrate these abilities will perform better than ones without them.

Ultimately, teams cannot perform to their full potential if they are lacking Technical Expertise as well as Team Work Capabilities such as excellent communication skills and ability to manage conflicts properly.

Investing (and hiring) in both is essential for any organization that wants high performance from its teams!

The Key To Cooperation In Teams Lies In Developing Core Beliefs Among Members

Team cooperation is essential for any group to function and thrive, and it’s driven by the shared beliefs and perceptions of its individual members.

Rob Hall and Scott Fischer had a lot of successful expeditions together, but their 1996 expedition was a tragedy due to their decision — even though their plan was to turn around by 2:00 p.m., Hall made the unusual decision to keep going.

When the team fell behind, some members decided to go back down while the others followed them up the mountain despite serious reservations.

The lack of psychological safety—that feeling that you won’t be judged harshly if you express your opinion or ask for help—ultimately led to five lost lives.

Research has shown that psychological safety is one of the top predictors of team performance in a variety of settings.

Additionally, trust plays an important role in cooperation between people; professor Bart De Jong found that trusting teams consistently achieved better results.

And finally, collective efficacy is another belief that helps support teamwork; this concept refers to the shared belief among people that they can do something well together, which motivates them to push further and overcome challenges.

Effective Teams: Coordinating Behaviors Help Make Service Experiences Magical

Effective Teams

Teams that work together effectively have a few key behaviors in common: monitoring, supporting and adapting.

Monitoring, also known as situational awareness, means staying alert to changes and noticing what teammates are doing.

This helps teams stay focused on the task at hand, anticipate potential issues early and make sure everyone is still onboard with the plan.

Supporting involves filling in for other team members in case of need, offering advice or assistance with a task.

Having supportive behavior among team members can help lift morale and create a culture of collaboration instead of competition.

The last behavior is adapting, or learning from experience and making adjustments as needed.

Being able to quickly assess how well the team is functioning and make quick adjustments leads to better performance and more efficient teamwork.

By practicing these core teamwork behaviors, teams can ensure effective coordination between team members which will result in higher quality results for projects.

Quality Not Quantity: Why Good Team Communication Matters

When it comes to effective team communication, quality is more important than quantity.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, a world-renowned and Michelin-starred restaurant in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, demonstrates this.

Despite the bustle of activity in such an establishment you’ll usually find that conversations between kitchen staff are short and purposeful – facilitating better teamwork and maintain quality.

Ample evidence exists to illustrate the importance of strong communication for team performance.

Health care specialist analyses found that over two-thirds of mishaps leading to serious injury or death over a ten-year period were caused by communication challenges.

On the flip side, successful teams show communicative skills that facilitate their work – such as US Airways Flight 1549 who made an emergency landing but avoided fatalities due to the crew’s impeccable communication skills.

There are several strategies used to ensure effective communication on a team such as closed loop communication which includes calling out information; checking back with what has been understood; and closing by confirming or correcting what was conveyed.

It can be helpful to ensure understanding of a colleague’s opinion or feelings as this helps build trust and shared understanding within working groups.

Other tips include avoiding assumptions that others know something or should know something and ensuring all team members have access to useful information – do not let any one person be the sole source!

The Upside Of Shared Cognitions: How Teamwork Makes Contingency Planning And Responsiveness Easier

Shared cognitions play an important role in the functioning of any team.

By forming an understanding of shared purpose, collective priorities, and individual roles & knowledge, teams create a cohesive unit that can respond to unexpected interruptions together.

This can be seen in the example of a cruise ship where crew members have been trained for emergency scenarios and are clear on their roles and duties in such situations.

On a daily basis however, shared cognitions also support routine performance.

They provide teams with collective focus and motivation to work harder on tasks, resulting in heightened productivity levels when working together towards the same goals.

As well as this, the common understanding cultivated by team cognitions encourages better monitoring and coordination amongst members which further supports team performance.

All of these elements ultimately help your team adapt during disruptive moments to deliver results successfully – something that would not be possible without shared cognitions.

It is therefore important to take steps towards developing team cognition through clearly setting and communicating direction, preparing for potential contingencies, regularly engaging in routine updates and debriefs as a group amongst other methods.

The Need For Favorable Conditions For Teams To Succeed

Teams To Succeed

When teams do not operate in an environment that supports team collaboration, even the most talented and capable of individuals have difficulty working together to reach their shared goals.

This has been demonstrated by research, which has found that when there are unfavorable conditions present, teams cannot succeed.

Examples of this could manifest in different ways.

There could be policies and practices within an organization that don’t favor teamwork, or a lack of encouragement from senior leadership.

Not having enough resources or time can also prevent teams from achieving what they set out to do.

The key takeaway here is that under the wrong conditions, even excellent teams can fail to meet their objectives.

It’s important for organizations to create a supportive environment for teamwork and provide resources so that those involved have adequate time and the tools necessary to work together effectively for success.

The Seven Essential Functions Of Team Leadership

Leadership is a vital part of any successful team, as it sets the tone for how your team will operate.

As such, the primary role of leadership is to make sure that your team has all the necessary drivers to function effectively and succeed.

This means ensuring clarity on roles and expectations, foster psychological safety, encouraging participation and providing empowerment, removing obstacles and garnering support, managing emotions and attitudes, as well as promoting learning and adaptation.

When all these drivers are in place there is a greater likelihood that your team will achieve success.

For example, one of these drivers is clarity – having clear understanding of each other’s roles is paramount so tasks can be delegated properly and a cohesive plan can be created among the members of the team.

Another driver is psychological safety – by creating an environment where teammates feel safe speaking up without fear of judgement or reprimand.

By taking steps to ensure that all these drivers are present in your team’s culture you will set them up for success.

It may require some work at first but it’s worth investing in if you want long-term success!

Wrap Up

The teams that work book is a great resource for getting the most out of your team.

The key takeaway from these sections is to view teamwork as a skill that must be learned, just like any other.

You can maximize your team’s performance by making sure that all seven drivers of effective teamwork are in place: capabilities, cooperative beliefs, coordinating behaviors, quality communication, shared cognitions, organizational and team-specific conditions and leadership.

For an actionable tip to put into practice right away try implementing team debriefs.

According to research they increase performance by up to 20 percent!

Team debriefs should be conducted throughout the project cycle not just at the end and everyone should set aside specific times for it.

Lastly if you’re the leader let your team members talk first and show that you’re practicing good teamwork yourself by sharing one improvement you’ll make next time.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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