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After reading the Blake Sports Apparel case and Lencioni’s, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, share your perspective on what you think Jack might say are the reasons for the dysfunction in each of the teams in the case. Explain your response.
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JWI 510: Leadership in the 21st Century
Lecture Notes
Week 4: Building High-Performance Teams
Welcome to Week 4. Real leaders build great teams. They achieve breakthrough results by working
through the teams they manage, not by doing everything themselves. Still, many managers are quick to
assume that teams are always the best way to get work done. Remember this, though: working in teams is
not a virtue in itself, and it is certainly not a guarantee of success. In today’s world, with employees spread
out across time zones and continents, creating a high-performing team takes thought and planning, and
you need a framework for success.
What is a Team?
In their book, The Wisdom of Teams, Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith make an important distinction
between a real team and a working group (1992). They define a real team as “a small number of people
with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for
which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”
Sadly, few teams work this way. Most of what people think of as teams are actually working groups. A
single leader defines the tasks to be performed – sometimes with member input, sometimes not – and
participants mostly work on their own. There is nothing wrong with working groups. In fact, they can be a
fast and efficient way to get work done.
Real teamwork, on the other hand, requires something altogether different. Teams should only be created
when they can accomplish something bigger and better than a group of individuals working on their own.
Before you form a team, make sure it has the right purpose, structure, and ground rules to get the job
done.
Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing
In 1965, Bruce Tuckman proposed a model of organizational behavior called Forming-Storming-NormingPerforming. This model is particularly helpful in understanding the stages that groups go through when
working together.
Forming
Individuals spend time becoming familiar with other members. Because they don’t know each other well, they
avoid conflict and controversy. Usually, this is a short, but comfortable, stage. Little tends to get done because
members are more focused on themselves than the team. At this point in the process, the leader needs to
help the group understand the task and set goals.
© Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be
copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University.
JWI 510 – Lecture Notes (1194)
Page 1 of 5
JWI 510: Leadership in the 21st Century
Lecture Notes
Storming
Team members stop being polite and begin to experience conflict, due to a lack of vision or role clarity.
Frustration and competition cause morale to fall. While painful, this is an important period for the team to
create its identity. We’ll consider how to establish a common goal and define clear roles and operating rules
that can help teams move through this stage more quickly.
Norming
Team members sort out their personal conflicts and shift their focus to work. The team becomes more
integrated and establishes its culture. At this point, leaders will be able to give up some of their decisionmaking power to let the team assume greater control.
Performing
This is a steady state in which the team begins to function at an optimal level. Team members become
interdependent and capable of diagnosing and resolving problems on their own. Leaders shouldn’t sit
back and relax during this stage, however. Even the highest-performing teams slide back into earlier
stages when under stress. Leaders must continually monitor goals and performance.
How to Develop Your Team
When selecting and coaching your team members, keep these notes in mind:

Avoid yes-people who will just agree with you about everything.

Diverse perspectives are valuable, and even open conflict can be good, if valued for the lessons it
offers. Buy-in increases if there has been some disagreement.

Select individuals who have a range of leadership and decision-making styles. Think of what you
learned with the DiSC assessment.

You need team members who can acknowledge their weaknesses and who can ask for help when
needed. They have to let their guard down and build trust in each other.

Hoegl (2004) found that the best size team is 4-5 members, since, in larger teams, communication
becomes difficult and decision-making grows unwieldy.

Spend time up front to articulate and agree on matters like purpose, approach to getting work done,
and the benefits of reaching the goal.

Ask for input and do not dictate answers. Collective goals are more likely to be achieved.

Consider having a team charter to establish these goals and to educate others about these goals.
© Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be
copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University.
JWI 510 – Lecture Notes (1194)
Page 2 of 5
JWI 510: Leadership in the 21st Century
Lecture Notes
Performance
It is also critical to be clear about roles and not to just divide up tasks. Each team is usually going to have a
leader, who sets the vision, defines roles, communicates goals and progress, and keeps the project and
team on track. There will also be team members who help set goals, assess and share strengths and
weaknesses, keep others accountable, and commit to decisions even when they do not support them.
There will also be individual contributors who are assigned a particular task. They are responsible for
providing the necessary work or information, while keeping the team’s goals in mind.
Agreeing on ground rules in advance allows a team to run more efficiently. Ask these critical questions:
1. How will conflict and disagreement be handled?
2. How will decisions be made?
3. How will results be measured?
If you are going to create a team charter, consider including these operating procedures. Organizational
researchers have found several ways that effective leaders remove impediments to high performance and
motivate a team to greater achievements.
Foster Commitment:

Speak in terms of “We,” not “I;” create shared and ambitious goals

Help people understand the personal and group benefits of working together

Realign rewards toward team outcomes rather than individual ones

Monitor commitment level, as squabbling and fatigue can erode dedication

If team members lose interest, find new challenges and roles for them
Encourage Information Sharing:

Recognize employees who freely exchange information, especially if it is sensitive or challenging

Share as much information as you can with the team, to model the level of transparency you
expect

If you need to rely on information from other teams or departments, recruit team members who
have the appropriate knowledge, or bring in experts as individual contributors and reward them
appropriately
© Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be
copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University.
JWI 510 – Lecture Notes (1194)
Page 3 of 5
JWI 510: Leadership in the 21st Century
Lecture Notes
Avoid Groupthink:
Janis (1972) coined this name for what occurs when a group becomes so close-knit that members fail to
critically analyze or evaluate their decisions. Innovation and creativity are stifled when teams become so
inwardly focused that they fail to look at reasonable alternatives and are unwilling to express concerns
about the group’s views. If this happens:

Make your team aware of the symptoms

Give authority to non-conforming opinions

Consider integrating new members for fresh perspectives

In fact, you may even want to designate one or two groupthink watchdogs to play devil’s advocate
and challenge assumptions
Address Performance Issues:

Diagnose problems by gathering information and getting a full picture

Explain to team members how to remedy situations, including removing obstacles and
unnecessary distractions

Define success and make consequences clear

Make your role explicit

Offer training or additional knowledge, and consider additional coaching, if needed
You may be called on to lead a geographically diverse or even a virtual team. Companies set up remote
teams to save costs, respond quickly to changes in the marketplace, and leverage talent from multiple
geographies.
Conventional wisdom dictates that teams dispersed across locations, cultures, and functions have lower
levels of performance. Recent studies, however, show that, if managed well, these far-flung teams can
outperform groups that are located together (Siebdrat, Hoegl, & Ernst, 2009). While many of the same
rules of teamwork apply – setting common goals, defining clear roles and agreeing on operating
procedures, etc. – recognize that virtual teams face unique management challenges. The most significant
issues center on engagement and communication.
Remember, healthy relationships among team members build cohesion, increase engagement, and
ultimately make your job easier. Effective teams also provide a way for members to spontaneously
communicate. Tools like instant messaging or other social technologies can create a virtual water cooler
that allows people to interact informally.
© Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be
copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University.
JWI 510 – Lecture Notes (1194)
Page 4 of 5
JWI 510: Leadership in the 21st Century
Lecture Notes
All teams conclude their work at some point. Disbanding a team can be stressful, particularly if the future is
uncertain for members. But don’t let emotions make the end unpleasant. Reflect together on what worked
and what didn’t. Share these lessons with the broader organization, so that others can learn from the
team’s experience. No team’s time together is free of obstacles. Whether your team is close at hand or
spread out across the globe, it must be carefully tended to, in order to thrive.
Remember, teams are not silver bullets. They have the potential to produce extraordinary results, but many
fall short, due to poor management and a lack of cohesion. By choosing the right people, agreeing on
shared objectives, clearly defining who does what, and setting up ground rules, leaders can avoid – or at
least mitigate – many of the inherent risks of teamwork. And when obstacles do present themselves, your
team will be better equipped to overcome them and excel.
Your Leadership Journey

If you are new to leadership, consider how you can form more trusting relationships within the
team.

If you are a team leader, consider whether a team charter would be beneficial to your team.

If you are a senior/veteran leader, consider how you can build better trust in all layers and
teams within your organization.
© Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be
copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University.
JWI 510 – Lecture Notes (1194)
Page 5 of 5
6
Hiring
WHAT WINNERS ARE MADE OF
S
before business audiences, I get a question that totally stumps me, as in: I have no
clue about the right answer. A couple of years ago at a convention
of insurance executives in San Diego, for instance, a woman stood
up and said, “What is the one thing you should ask in an interview
to help you decide whom to hire?”
I shook my head. “The one thing?” I said.“I can’t come up with
one. What do you think?”
“That’s why I’m asking you!” she replied.
The audience roared, certainly because I was so floored, but
also because they could probably relate.
Hiring good people is hard.
Hiring great people is brutally hard.
And yet nothing matters more in winning than getting the
right people on the field. All the clever strategies and advanced
technologies in the world are nowhere near as effective without
great people to put them to work.
OMETIMES WHEN
I APPEAR
— 81 —
YOUR COMPANY
Because hiring right is so important—and so challenging—
there is a lot of territory to cover in this chapter.
■ First, we’ll take a short look at three acid tests
you need to conduct before you even think about
hiring someone.
■ Next we’ll lay out the 4-E (and 1-P) frame-
work for hiring that I have used for many years. It’s
named after the four characteristics it contains,
which all begin with E, a nice coincidence. There’s a
P (for passion) in there too.
■ After that, we’ll explore the four special charac-
teristics you look for when hiring leaders. The
previous chapter was about what you do when you
are a leader—the rules of leadership, as it were. This
section is about how to hire leaders in the first
place.
■ Finally, I’ll answer six FAQs (frequently asked
questions) about hiring that I get during my
travels—plus that “impossible” one from that
insurance executive in San Diego. After all, I’ve
had a couple of years to think it over!
THE ACID TESTS
Before you even think about assessing people for a job, they have
to pass through three screens. Remember, these tests should come
at the outset of the hiring process, not right before you’re about to
sign on the dotted line.
— 82 —
HIRING
The first test is for integrity.
Integrity is something of a fuzzy Over time, many of us
word, so let me tell you my defini- develop an instinct for
tion. People with integrity tell the
integrity. Just don’t be
truth, and they keep their word.
They take responsibility for past afraid to use it.
actions, admit mistakes, and fix
them. They know the laws of their
country, industry, and company—both in letter and spirit—and
abide by them. They play to win the right way, by the rules.
How can you test for integrity? If a candidate comes from
inside your company, that’s pretty easy. You’ve seen him or her in
action or know someone who has. From the outside, you need to
rely on reputation and reference checks. But those aren’t foolproof. You also have to rely on your gut. Does the person seem
real? Does she openly admit mistakes? Does he talk about his life
with equal measures of candor and discretion?
Over time, many of us develop an instinct for integrity. Just
don’t be afraid to use it.
The second test is for intelligence. That doesn’t mean a person must have read Shakespeare or can solve complex physics
problems. It does mean the candidate has a strong dose of intellectual curiosity, with a breadth of knowledge to work with or lead
other smart people in today’s complex world.
Sometimes people confuse education with intelligence. I certainly did that at the start of my career. But with experience,
I learned that smart people come from every kind of school. I’ve
known many extremely bright people from places like Harvard
and Yale. But some of the best executives I’ve worked with have
attended places like Bryant University in Providence, Rhode
Island, and the University of Dubuque, in Iowa.
GE was lucky to have all these people on its team.
— 83 —
YOUR COMPANY
My point is that a candidate’s education is only a piece of the
picture, especially when it comes to intelligence.
The third ticket to the game is maturity. You can, by the
way, be mature at any age, and immature too. Regardless, there are
certain traits that seem to indicate a person has grown up: the
individual can withstand the heat, handle stress and setbacks, and,
alternatively, when those wonderful moments arise, enjoy success
with equal parts of joy and humility. Mature people respect the
emotions of others. They feel confident but are not arrogant.
In fact, mature people usually have a sense of humor, especially
about themselves!
As with integrity, there is no real test for maturity. Again,
you have to rely on reference checks, reputation, and most important, gut.
THE 4-E (AND 1-P) FRAMEWORK
The 4-E framework took years for me to solidify. No doubt other
people have other frameworks that work very well in building
winning teams. But I’ve found this one was consistently effective,
year after year, across businesses and borders.
The first E is positive energy. We just talked about this
characteristic in the chapter on leadership. It means the ability to
go go go—to thrive on action and relish change. People with positive energy are generally extroverted and optimistic. They make
conversation and friends easily. They start the day with enthusiasm
and usually end it that way too, rarely seeming to tire in the middle. They don’t complain about working hard; they love to work.
They also love to play.
People with positive energy just love life.
The second E is the ability to energize others. Positive
energy is the ability to get other people revved up. People who
— 84 —
HIRING
energize can inspire their team to
take on the impossible—and enjoy People with positive
the hell out of doing it. In fact, peo- energy just love life.
ple would arm wrestle for the
chance to work with them.
Now, energizing others is not just about giving Pattonesque
speeches. It takes a deep knowledge of your business and strong
persuasion skills to make a case that will galvanize others.
A great example of an energizer is Charlene Begley, who
started with GE as a financial management trainee in 1988. After
several years in various jobs, Charlene was selected to run GE’s Six
Sigma program in the transportation business. That’s where her
leadership really began to shine. Galvanized by her intensity, her
team really got its Six Sigma program on the corporate radar
screen.
It’s hard to unpick Charlene’s ability to energize because it’s a
brew of skills all mixed together. She is a great communicator,
who can clearly define objectives. She’s dead serious about work,
but she doesn’t take herself too seriously. In fact, she has a good
sense of humor and shares credit readily. Her attitude is always
upbeat: no matter how hard the job, it can get done.
Charlene’s ability to energize that Six Sigma team was one of
the key characteristics that got her out of the pile and set her on
GE’s fast track. After Six Sigma and a couple of other leadership
roles, she was made head of GE’s corporate audit staff and eventually became CEO of GE Fanuc Automation. Today, at thirtyeight, Charlene is CEO and president of GE’s $3 billion rail
business.
The third E is edge, the courage to make tough yes-orno decisions. Look, the world is filled with gray. Anyone can
look at an issue from every different angle. Some smart people
can—and will—analyze those angles indefinitely. But effective
— 85 —
YOUR COMPANY
Effective people know
when to stop assessing
and make a tough call,
even without total
information. Little is
worse than a manager
who can’t cut bait.
people know when to stop assessing
and make a tough call, even without
total information.
Little is worse than a manager at
any level who can’t cut bait, the type
that always says, “Bring it back in a
month and we’ll take a good, hard
look at it again,” or that awful type
that says yes to you, but then someone else comes into the room and
changes his mind. We called these
wishy-washy types last-one-out-
the-door bosses.

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