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The book focuses on the key milestones that mark a team’s journey to high performance, without being naïve to the challenges and the pitfalls; hence the title The Myths and Realities of Teamwork.
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About the book
In this book, the author, David Wright, sets out to share 30 years of his team building experience in organisations both large and small. The book focuses on the key milestones that mark a team’s journey to high performance, without being naïve to the challenges and the pitfalls; hence the title The Myths and Realities of Teamwork. The most common myth is that there is no ‘I’ in team; however, there is a ‘me’. The reality is that the reader can never ignore an individual’s needs, even within a strong team environment.
The myths and realities of teamwork will be told through a series of milestones (chapters) on a journey to high performance using 32 case studies, 37 illustrations and one joke, but it is a good one.
The milestones highlighted within each chapter, will aid the reader to check the team’s progress. The initial part of the team journey will focus on basic steps in building the team and this may feel mechanistic; however, as the book unfolds, you will experience more challenging skills and processes that will enable you and your team to achieve high performance.
The myths and realities are visited throughout the book to assist the reader to be realistic in approach.
The book also aims to help mature teams recapture that early enthusiasm and respect you may have witnessed when the team was new. Building a really effective team is akin to taking a journey and members of the team must experience the journey together. I will refer to the team journey a lot throughout this book. In order for the team to have a fruitful journey, the following milestones must be reached:
- Burying the myths and raising the realities
- Understanding organisation culture and the team’s potential starting point
- Establishing team goals and vision
- Establishing ground rules for effectiveness
- Meeting skills and positive contributions
- Recognising the team processes including the journey from ‘Ritual Sniff’ to ‘Maturity’
- Developing team skills that will aid success
- Defining the team roles beyond pure functional roles and predicting future success or failure
- Understanding empowerment and its place, especially in self-directed work teams
- Having the level of openness and trust to share feelings and take responsibility for change
- Embracing high performance, celebration and fun
- Understanding the practice of leadership for all
I dedicate this book to my family, to Daphne, my coach, and daughters Diane and Catherine who encourage me not to act my age.
I also thank John Donnelly, Donnelly Mirrors, who provided the initial interest in teams, Ken Wright, my twin brother, who encouraged me to work with teams and take the necessary business risks and Sexton Cahill of Aughinish Alumina who suggested using the outdoors as a team building and learning environment for self-directed work teams.
I thank the many companies and organisations I am fortunate to work with who trust my ability to deliver fun and high performance teams.
Gratitude to Helen Colleton and Eilish Rafferty for sound advice on the book’s content.
Finally to Bookboon who asked me to fulfil my ambition to write about my experiences of teams, thank you. I have enjoyed writing the book. My hope is that you will enjoy the read and take the learning to your teams.
About the book
- Myths and Realities of Teamwork
- Signposting a Team Journey
- The milestones
- Starting Point – Management Grid
- Bruce Tuckman’s team journey
- Summary of Chapter 2
- The Basics, Including Meeting Processes
- Team goal
- Team ground rules
- Team meetings processes
- Summary Chapter 3
- Myths and realities of Chapter 3
- Team Skills
- Team synergy; adding value consistently
- Six team skills
- Summary Chapter 4
- Myths and Realities of Chapter 4
- Team Profile, Balance and Roles
- Potential team profiling instruments
- A team’s profile using Belbin’s nine Team Roles
- Predicting the team’s performance when undertaking specific tasks
- Encouraging team members to take on additional roles that will assist in the team’s success
- Summary Chapter 5
- Myths and realities of Chapter 5
- Empowerment, Feelings and Fun
- Self-Directed Work Teams (SDWT)
- Feelings, the highest form of team communication
- Summary of Chapter 6
- Myths and realities of Chapter 6
- Leadership for All
- Team leadership
- Solo leadership versus team leadership
- Intervention levels
- Leadership for all
- High performance
- The team journey
- Summary of Chapter 7
- The final myth
Myth 1 – Teams are harmonious people
Myth 2 – Team conflict is unhealthy
Myth 3 – Most people like teamwork
Myth 4 – Teamwork is essential to business success
Myth 5 – Teams are easy to influence and manage
Myth 6 – Senior Managers encourage teamwork
About the Author
David Wright was born in Ireland at the mid-point of the last century and educated at Trinity College Dublin.
His career began with manual work including the laying of white and yellow lines on roads, a surprising activity for the product of a privileged education. Eventually David was encouraged to get a ‘real job’ and he duly joined the Human Resources team of the Engineering Industry Training Board in the United Kingdom. David later returned to Ireland to work in Donnelly Mirrors, a manufacturing business which in the 1970s had a teamwork culture linked to profit sharing. It was a very innovative company and it was here that David’s love of teams and teamwork really began.
David later acquired the clumsy title of ‘Personnel Policy Development Manager’ with a government training agency and after three years was put in a position which allowed him to practice what he was preaching with 100 staff and a large operational budget. As a line manager, David relished the opportunity to build his own teams.
In the economic recession of the 1980s, David and his twin brother Ken established Wright Consultancy to help diverse teams achieve high performance.
Today David combines this consultancy role with working as Group Human Resource Manager with Horse Racing Ireland as well as volunteering with charitable organisations.
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Shane Twomey ★★★★★
Excellent. This book clearly sets out how to get past some of the basic problems managers face with teams and how to move them to a level of high performance.