Nice Teams Finish Last

The Secret to Unleashing Your Team's Maximum Potential

 Nice Teams Finish Last

Author: Brian Cole Miller
Pub Date: May 2010
Print Edition: $17.95
Print ISBN: 9780814413937
Page Count: 224
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814413944

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A few years ago, I was driving in southern Maine with a

friend, talking about teams. I was lamenting how so many

teams never quite realize their full potential. The team members

all know what needs to happen for them to be wildly

successful, but each is waiting for someone else to do it. Individual

accountability is what’s lacking, was my thought. My

friend taunted me, ‘‘Brian, remember: There’s no I in team.’’

I shot back, ‘‘Yes, but there’s a me in there somewhere!’’

Teams are made of individuals. They are a group of me’s.

But as long as everyone keeps believing there is no I in team,

they can continue to abdicate to others—often the team

leader—the responsibility for their team’s success. It

shouldn’t be all on the team leader’s shoulders to make the

team work. Each member has responsibility.

Is Your Team Too NICE?

This book is for people who want to step up and accept

responsibility for the success of their team. Over the years,

I’ve learned that the foundation of any team’s success is open

and honest communication. Unfortunately, our society has

taught us that acting this way can hurt people; so we ‘‘play

nice’’ with each other. In this book, I dispel the myths of

NICE teams and show you how any team can become

BOLD, simply by following some basic principles of communication.

If you are a NICE team, you will learn communication

skills that will transform how you interact with each other.

Because the focus is on individual responsibility, you need to

know what is not in this book.

/ I won’t be teaching team leaders how to lead a team (except

by example, as a member of the team).

/ I won’t be showing you how to create or lead a culture

change, beyond the shift that naturally occurs when you

apply the skills contained here.

/ Nor will I be telling you how to resolve conflict. (What

I will do, though, is give you the tools you need to avoid

unnecessary conflict in the first place.)

Chapter 1 is all about NICE teams. I expose the seven

myths that are common for teams that are stuck in NICE.

Then I describe the nine classic team members. Each of them

has his or her own motivation to be NICE.

There is a lot of information about the team member

types, and here’s why. If you’re going to initiate or lead a

change in your team’s dynamics, you need to understand

these types in order to improve your chances of success. Understanding

how different things motivate people is critical

to appealing to their collective conscience. The Team Member

Style Assessment in Appendix 2 helps you identify which

team member style you have, as well as the other styles found

in your team, so that you can address them effectively.

When NICE teams realize that NICEness is stymieing

their potential, they often err by going to the other extreme:

FIERCE. In Chapter 2, I describe the seven myths of

FIERCE teams, as well as how the nine team members adjust

in a FIERCE environment.

Your Goal Should Be a BOLD Team

BOLD is the delicate balance between NICE and FIERCE.

In Chapter 3, I show how the myths of NICE and FIERCE

become truths for BOLD teams. When the nine kinds of

team members rise to BOLDness, each can make a unique

and valuable contribution.

Becoming BOLD

These are all good concepts, but how do you put them to

work? That’s what Chapter 4 is about. Here you find the

four basic principles of BOLD communication. It all starts

with how team members interact with each other. These

principles can be applied to just about any interaction in a

team setting.

The next three chapters show how to apply the BOLD

principles to the most common team interactions.

/ Chapter 5 is about giving feedback: how to share your

reactions with others.

/ Chapter 6 deals with making requests: how to ask for

what you want or need from others.

/ Chapter 7 covers disagreeing: how to share differing

opinions and viewpoints.

In each chapter, I divide the topic into easy-to-follow

steps built on the four basic BOLD principles.

Finally, Chapter 8 is for team leaders. The aim of this

book is primarily to guide and encourage team members to

become BOLD, so I won’t get into traditional team leader

topics (such as how to be a team leader, how to hold people

accountable, or how to manage change). I will give you

some direction, tips, and exercises for leading your team

toward BOLD. You’ll find even more help in the appendixes,

where I’ve included assessments and worksheets that

can help you apply what you learn from the book.

True, there is no I in team. But there is a me. And it’s time

for all of the me’s on your team to stop waiting around for

somebody else to create the ideal team. So let’s start with the

me who’s holding this book right now.

Be bold, be bold, and everywhere be bold.

-----Herbert Spencer

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