Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Review Titled “Teamwork” Authored By John C. Maxwell – Professor M.S.Rao, Reviewer

John C. Maxwell’s book titled Teamwork - What Every Leader Needs to Know distills teamwork down to its essential components. It is a short and easy-to-read volume wherein Maxwell says, “Teamwork is always at the heart of great achievement.” He provides a concise, power-packed game plan that can help you create an environment and result in victory and fulfillment for the whole team. The book helps you learn how to build a team that lasts longer; create positive energy on the team; harness a team’s creativity; identify weak players who negatively impact a team; and judge if the team can accomplish the dream.

He cherry-picked the essentials in subjects such as leadership, attitude, relationships, success, and mentoring and put them into a format that you very likely can read in one sitting. Or you can easily toss a book into a briefcase or purse and read here and there as time allows. However, this book dwells from the perspective of teamwork.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part describes the power of teamwork and the second part deals with the dynamics of teamwork. The book preludes with questions such as, “Who are your personal heroes?” “Which people do you admire most?” and “Which people fire you up and get your juices flowing?”

Maxwell outlines teamwork truths as follows: teamwork divides the effort and multiplies the effect; talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships; teamwork is not about you; great teams create community; an adding value to others adds value to you. He further adds, “People who take advantage of others inevitably fail in business and relationships. If you desire to succeed, the live by these four simple words: add value to others. That philosophy will take you far.”

Maxwell coins Leader’s Daily Dozen that contains twelve power-unleashing activities to lead your organization. There are as follows:
1. Place a high value on people.
2. Commit resources to develop people.
3. Place a high value on leadership.
4. Look for potential leaders.
5. Know and respect your people.
6. Provide your people with leadership experiences.
7. Reward leadership initiative.
8. Provide a safe environment where people ask questions, share ideas, and take risks.
9. Grow with your people.
10. Draw people with high potential into your inner circle.
11. Commit yourself to developing a leadership team.
12. Unleash your leaders to lead.

Maxwell coined Searching for Eagles, wherein it contains the ten characteristics to search in potential leaders. They are as follows:
• They make things happen.
• They see opportunities.
• They influence the opinions and actions of others.
• They add value to you.
• They draw winners to them.
• They equip other eagles to lead.
• They provide ideas that help the organization.
• They possess an uncommonly great attitude.
• They live up to their commitments.
• They show fierce loyalty to the organization and the leader.

Maxwell outlines type of team required for facing type of challenge. For instance, for facing new challenge, creative team is required, for controversial challenge, united team; for changing challenge, fast and flexible team; for unpleasant challenge, motivated team; for diversified challenge, complementary team; for long-term challenge, determined team; and finally for Everest-sized challenge, the type of team required is experienced team.

Maxwell asserts, “When your ideas are not received well by others, do your best not to take it personally. When someone in a meeting does that, it can kill the creative process, because at that point the discussion is no longer about the ideas or helping the organization; it becomes about the person whose feelings are hurt. In those moments, if you can stop competing and focus your energy on creating, you will open the way for the people around you to take their creativity to the next level.”

Maxwell concludes the book with punched message, “If you let the best idea win, you will win friends and influence people.”

Great Quotes from Book
“Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” – Einstein
“Behind an able man there are always other able men.” - A Chinese proverb
“There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.” - President Lyndon Johnson
“It marks a big step in your development when you come to realize that other people can help you do a better job than you could do alone.” - Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie
“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” - Niccolo Machiavelli
“We should not only use all the brains we have, but all that we can borrow.” – President Woodrow Wilson
“The essence of leadership is the ability to inspire others to work together as a team-to stretch for a common objective.” - Harold S. Geneen
“Nothing much happens without a dream. For something really great to happen, it takes a really great dream.” – Robert Greenleaf
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world and to impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – U.S. president Woodrow Wilson
“We’re here on earth to do good for others. What the others are here fore, I don’t know.” - Poet W.H.Auden
“No man can live happily who regards himself alone, who turns everything to his own advantage. You must live for others if you wish to live for yourself.” – Seneca
“I can live for two months on one good compliment.” – Mark Twain
“A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

1. One is too small a number to achieve greatness.
2. There are some things only a team can accomplish.
3. As the challenge escalates, the need for teamwork elevates.
4. Create an environment that unleashes new leaders.
5. Great teams have everyone on the same page.
6. The best players put the team first.
7. A leader’s investment in the team pays dividends.
8. A weak link harms the leader’s credibility and the team’s chances for success.
9. Put completing teammates ahead of competing with them.
10. Make sure the best idea always wins.

Teamwork Takeaways
• To do something really big, let go of your ego, and get ready to be part of a team.
• A great dream with a bad team is nothing more than a nightmare.
• It’s better to have a great team with a weak dream than a great dream with a weak team.
• If you build the right team, the dream will almost take care of itself.
• As the challenge escalates, the need for teamwork elevates.
• When the team you have doesn’t match up to the team of your dreams, then you have only two choices: Give up your dream, or grow up your team. In order to grow up your team, develop team members, add key team members, change the leadership and remove ineffective members.
• In order to cultivate the attitude of selflessness you need to be generous; avoid internal politics; display loyalty; and value interdependence over independence.
• Someone with a good self-image is more flexible than a person with a poor self-image.
• One idea is never enough. Many ideas make us stronger.
• If you want your organization to reach its potential, if you want it to go from good to great (or even average to good), you need to develop a team of leaders, people who can fill in each other’s gaps, people who challenge and sharpen one another.

Final Word
The book contains valuable quotations with inspirational illustrations. John Maxwell is noted for delivering punches aptly. He knows the pulse of the readers and caters the content appropriately. It is an amazing book emphasizing on teamwork revealing the tools and techniques for building great teams that takes you towards your personal and professional success.

Professor M.S.Rao
Founder and Chief Consultant,
MSR Leadership Consultants, India
Blog: http://profmsr.blogspot.com
Where Knowledge is Wealth
Email: profmsr7@gmail.com

Dear readers,

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