Two senior McKinsey and Company partners argue that we cannot meet the challenges ahead--from total quality to customer service to innovation--without teams. In interviews with hundreds of people in more than 50 different teams in 30 companies, Katzenbach and Smith discover what differentiates various levels of team performance, where and how ...
Two senior McKinsey and Company partners argue that we cannot meet the challenges ahead--from total quality to customer service to innovation--without teams. In interviews with hundreds of people in more than 50 different teams in 30 companies, Katzenbach and Smith discover what differentiates various levels of team performance, where and how teams work best, and how to enhance their effectiveness.
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-02-15 The importance of teams has become a clichi of modern business theory, but few have a clear idea of what it means. In this new edition of their best-selling primer, Katzenbach and Smith try to impart some analytical rigor to the concept. Drawing on their experience as management consultants and a plethora of case studies at companies like Burlington Northern and Motorola, they cover such topics as the optimal size of teams, coping with turnover in team personnel and nurturing "extraordinary teams" rather than "pseudo-teams." Reacting against the touchy-feely interpersonal bent of discourse on teams, they emphasize hard-nosed principles of "performance, focus, and discipline," over the softer concerns of "communication, openness and 'chemistry.'" Teams, they argue, gel and achieve not by developing "togetherness," but by tackling and surmounting specific "outcome-based" challenges ("eliminate all late deliveries...within 90 days" rather than the vaguer "develop a plan for improving customer satisfaction."). Some of the authors' recommendations are reasonably precise and practical, but too many are nebulous truisms ("[k]eep the purpose, goals, and approach relevant and meaningful") or weighed down by turgid consultant-ese ("[i]ntegrating the performance goals of formal, structural units as well as special ad hoc group efforts becomes a significant process design challenge"). The case studies are better written, but it's not clear that these inspiring anecdotes of team triumph add up to a systematic doctrine. The book leaves the impression that teams ultimately just have to learn by doing. (Mar.) THE FAMILY DINNER: A Celebration of Love, Laughter, and Leftovers Linda Sunshine and Mary Tiegreen. Clarkson Potter, $16.95 (112p) ISBN 1400045924 An ode to the joys of meatloaf and Campbell's soup, Sunshine and Tiegreen's compact book reveres that American family ritual: the family dinner. The authors-longtime friends and collaborators on books about shoes, dogs and other subjects-give the book a decidedly 1950s feel to play up the nostalgia for a time when Mom whipped up a hearty meal while Dad poured himself a cocktail and loosened his tie to dig in. Slightly idealistic ("family dinners establish the rhythm of family life and define who we are, where we come from, and where we might expect to be going"), the authors root their book in vintage photos and concepts. There's a photograph of a big Italian family-men in sleeveless undershirts and women with their hair done up-seated at a table replete with carafes of red wine; and another of a perky housewife, beaming as she takes a bottle of milk out of the fridge. Mini-essays and quotes from Calvin Trillin, Nora Ephron, Ruth Reichl and others complement the black and white photos. While corny at times, Sunshine and Tiegreen's homage is also wistful and oddly reassuring. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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