Teams bring energy to life. Well, at least good teams do. Sometimes teamwork can be a real drain. We’ve all been part of a team that asked more from us than it delivered or failed to ask anything of us at all. Like most things, the greater the potential, the greater the disappointment that results from missing the mark. Great teams are great. Good teams are good and everything else is very painful.
So Mark Miller’s book, The Secret of Teams: What Great Teams Know and Do provides an engaging story around a team and their search and discovery of the secret of great teams. In a fable format, you follow Debbie and her not-so-exciting team as they search for the secret of great teams both within and without their organization.
The book is filled with discoveries of the characteristics of great teams. You’re given the ideas around great teams from different perspectives and then you listen as the team processes the learnings and cooks those learnings off to some key thoughts.
Several ideas or keys are developed. In the chapter titled The Big Idea, the team processes through their first 3 interviews and massages the key learnings from the interviews into 3 Key Ingredients for a High Performance Team: Talent, Skills and Community. The discussion flows around the importance of focusing on people-first and making sure you have a right fit (Talent). Talent is closely followed by having the right behaviors (Skills) which are learned and developed. These are both brought together and take on new meaning and power in an environment where people are known and where they genuinely serve and care for each other (Community).
One key principle later in the book relates to different leadership styles and team structures. They talk about how the more traditional leadership structures fall short of being able to create and sustain a high-performing team. A high-performing team needs a particular leadership model. The old style Command and Control model where the leader is in charge and telling everyone what to do won’t do it. And the “Quarterback” model where the leader must be in the center of all of the activity won’t be sustainable either. So the final outcome is a team that can perform without the leader, leaving the leader free to, well, lead.
The book, while short, is packed with many great ideas. You will gain from the brief time reading this book and may come back to it over and over again for different ideas and thoughts. Please be sure and check it out soon.