Team Building Carrot-Style

Not so long ago, if you’d asked me whether high performing teams could exist without strong leadership, I would’ve given you an emphatic “No.” Well, go ahead and ask me that now, go ahead. Now that I’ve read The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization* by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, I’m changing my tune to an enthusiastic “Yes!”

For the last twenty years in training and organizational development, whenever I am called upon to create and/or facilitate a team building workshop, it is always at the behest of a manager interested in transforming his/her team into a paragon of performance and productivity for the organization. All along, I have assumed that high performing teams were borne out of a leadership vision and brought into reality by team members who bought-into that vision.  The challenge with this belief is the assumption  that high performing teams bloom only from a vision planted and nurtured by the leader. The Orange Revolution reveals how teams can bloom where they are planted and of their own volition.

“…We’re not saying that the managers of teams don’t make a difference–or even that top management doesn’t play a vital role…But the fact is that most people in breakthrough teams report their highest loyalty is their relationship with one another–the other team members” p. 12

Acts of respect, kindness, and support are a fabulous source of power and influence in organizations. By using your talents, resources, and time to recognize others who appreciate and desire such recognition, you build loyal relationships founded on trust and integrity. The beauty of recognition is that it is a gift that can be given by one peer to another just as easily as it is something a manager can endow upon a subordinate.  Following the formula laid out in The Orange Revolution, team members can leverage the power of recognition (among other “goodies” I’ll let you discover for yourself when you read the book) to tighten the weave of the team, increase their degree of influence, and ultimately contribute more to the organization.

 “We all have more influence than we’ll ever know if we exert that influence for good in our teams. Each revolution starts in the mirror.” Scott O’Neil, President of Madison Square Gardens Sports(p.86)

The Orange Revolution is rich with practical ideas for developing breakthrough teams in conjunction with or even in spite of (sad reality sometimes) the organization’s formal leadership structure. It’s truly empowering–not like those “fake” empowering books that espouse unrealistic actions and activities that don’t stand a snowball’s chance in Flagstaff without management approval. An Orange Revolution can be started by a leader with his/her team or by a team with or without a supportive leader (although the most productive teams are those with high levels of camaraderie and a supportive leader who provides valued recognition).  Thanks to Mr. Gostick and Mr. Elton, there are no more excuses for being “stuck” in a miserable situation or for leading an unproductive team. Get the book. Get unstuck because today is as good a day as any to start a revolution!

*Full disclosure

About a year ago, New Marketing Labs contacted me to be a guest blogger at Carrots.com. They also sent me a copy of  The Orange Revolution. Luckily, it’s a terrific book that I enjoyed and from which I gained tremendous insight. Blogging about it (though about a year later than I had originally intended) is easy because I believe in the book’s tenets and the integrity of the authors. That said, the situation forced me to determine a policy for blogging about books that are sent to me from publishers, publicists, authors, etc.

I will only write about books that:

  • I like
  • Have merit
  • Have a philosophy or set of tools related to the overall intention of this blog (promoting positive influence as the most effective way for leaders to get things done in organizations)
  • Are enjoyable to read (there are some books I like but that took such acts of sheer will and determination to finish  I wouldn’t inflict them upon my worst enemy)

 In a nutshell, the Saying What You Mean book review policy is “Picks Only. No Pans.” If I don’t have something nice to say, then I’m not saying anything at all.

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2 Comments

Filed under Business, How To, Recognition, Team Building

2 responses to “Team Building Carrot-Style

  1. nicoledefalco

    Susan, I agree. Elton and Gostick definitely provide a fresh perspective on team building and they support it with real-world research. Thanks for taking the time to read the post and comment!

  2. Now that’s a fresh new perspective. It really does matter that the entire team itself wants to grow and improve, and understands its own weaknesses, rather than just being pushed into team building by their manager.