Verdict: Written by team development specialist Simon Mac Rory, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE provides a comprehensive and practical guide for team leaders serious about improving their team’s effectiveness and boosting output.
“Teamwork” has become such a ubiquitous buzzword in the workplace that it has all but lost its meaning. In his book, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE: The Imperative of Teams, team development specialist Simon Mac Rory refines the definition. He provides a detailed framework for building and maintaining effective teams and a complex and rigorous process for those team leaders ambitious enough to take it on.
While some may think of their entire work department as a team, Mac Rory argues that true teams comprise between 5 and 10 members, no more. Mac Rory credits Amazon’s Jeff Bezos with the wisdom that, “if it takes more than two pizzas to feed the team, then the team is too big.” The author makes a compelling case for the importance of teams, claiming that 90 percent of organizations’ output comes from them, yet 40 percent of teams are dysfunctional.
After a fairly academic discussion of the definition of teams and all their variations, from virtual teams to teaming work groups, Mac Rory gets to the meat of the book, the Team Diagnostic Profiler©, an effectiveness model of his own creation. The TDP is a framework for any team to reflect on issues ranging from goal clarity to member participation to conflict. Mac Rory provides a set of questions for team leaders to ask and offers suggestions for ways to improve outcomes in each area.
Mac Rory draws on 30 years of experience working with teams and incorporates organizational research, as well as the methodologies of his contemporaries, though he sometimes disagrees with them. He places enormous responsibility on the role of team leader, claiming that dysfunction can always be blamed on failures in leadership. He also sets a high bar for team performance: teams must be ambitious but measured, efficient but reflective.
Despite its breezy title, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE reads more like a technical reference guide than a consumer self-help book. The book would be most useful to team leaders or human resource specialists tasked with organizational improvements. For those serious about doing the ongoing and nuanced work of leading a team, this book provides great tools geared toward improving team output.
~By Jane Constantineau for IndieReader