Volume 11, February 2002: Teams

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2002 ISSN # 1545-8873

“Life is a team sport and we all get to play.” — church marquee in Nashville, TN

“Participation is something the top orders the middle to do for the bottom” — Rosabeth Moss Kanter

“The corporate mantra of the 80’s and 90’s was ‘I’” — VP, Whole Foods

“WE is the mirror image of the word ME. All people have the need to be both a part and apart.” — M. K. Key


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Using teams to do work.
  • Norm-setting by using ground rules, working agreements and covenants with employees. Moving agreements from Patriarchal to Interdependence.
  • Team-building to bring Whole People, not just Role People, to the table.
  • Using consensus decision-making tools to involve others in efficient decision-making.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

Many leaders I know suffer from a self-imposed requirement to be a WFA (World’s Foremost Authority) on everything. Using teams frees a leader up from the total responsibility for decision-making, and with good information given to the team, the team will likely produce a superior decision. It involves letting go.

Some leaders get themselves in trouble by indicating that the team will make the decision, while having made the decision on their own. Nothing destroys team spirit more than this undercutting, when found out.

Frequently Asked Questions

“How do you organize a work team?”
This differs from a project team. A work team mimics work flow. We suggest the use of a human flowchart to test team membership. This involves lining up and physically describing inputs, outputs and hand-offs to the next person in the work flow. Then a check of who’s absent.
“We are spread out over several locations. Any suggestions about teaming?”
Verifone organizes people across the globe into virtual teams. Anyone can start a team, but it must: 1) have a clear purpose, 2) stay small (3-5 people) and 3) state its duration up front. People then link via telecommunication.
“How can we speed up the work of process improvement teams?”
Many organizations are encouraging marathon team work, where members carve out larger amounts of time and stay on task until they need data or input from outside the team context. First meeting is to get organized and understand the process as it exists, including how to measure its performance. Members take a break to acquire customer and process data, then reconvene to review data and design improvements/innovations.


GOAL/QPC’s Interactive Video Training Series. Build effective meeting skills in five modules. Call 800-643-4316. Or visit: Goal QPC

Two-day onsite training in team skills for improvement and innovation teams. Call 1-800-655-2901. Or visit the Teams course on our Website.

Videos on Meeting Skills and Consensus Decision-Making Tools. Call Healthcare Management Directions Executive Learning, Inc. at 615-373-8483 or visit ELinc.

Advanced Practical Thinking Training offers tools and techniques to help teams and employees sharpen thinking, decision making and problem solving skills. See APTT.

Useful Websites & Newsletters

Team Bonding offers interactive team building games including scavenger and treasure hunts and other cost effective programs to build teams.

LearnMaster provides information, consulting, and workshops on multinational team development.

Obtain a report that analyzes each team member’s characteristics and how they interact: Assessment Specialists.


  • Aubrey, Charles A., II; and Felkins, Patricia K. Teamwork Involving People in Quality and Productivity Improvement. Milwaukee, WI: Quality Press, 1988.
  • Bucholz, Steve and Roth, Thomas. Creating the High-Performance Team. New York; John Wiley, 1987.
  • Chaney, Lee and Cotter, Mary. Real People Real Work: Parables on Leadership in the 90’s. Knoxville, TN: SPC Press, Inc., 1991.
  • Katzenbach, Jon R. Teams at the Top. Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press, 1998.
  • Katzenbach, Jon R. & Smith, Douglas K. The Wisdom of Teams. Harperbusiness, 1994.
  • Parker, Glenn M. Team Players and Teamwork. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990.
  • Palmer, Barbara C. and Palmer, Kenneth R. The Successful Meeting Master Guide. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1983.
  • Pike, Robert W. Creative Training Techniques Handbook. Minneapolis, MN: Lakewood Books, 1990.
  • Reddy, W. Brendan, and Jamison, Kaleel. Team Building: Blueprints for Productivity and Satisfaction. Alexandria, Virginia: NTL Institute, 1988.
  • Robbins, Harvey A. & Finley, Michael. The New Why Teams Don't Work. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2000.
  • Scholtes, Peter. The Team Handbook. Madison, WI: Joiner Associates, Inc.
  • Shuster, H. David. Teaming for Quality Improvement. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990.
  • Tannenbaum, Robert and Schmidt, Walter H. “How to Choose a Leadership Pattern.” Harvard Business Review. May-June 1973, Number 73311.
  • Varney, Glenn H. Building Productive Teams. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1989.


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