During the summer months, the business slows down a bit for many people and organizations. Therefore, these months could be an excellent time to catch up on other tasks or do some more reading. Here is my recommendation for some summer reading, this year with a focus on the creation of teams:

“Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World” *

When General Stanley McChrystal was assigned the command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in Iraq in 2003, he quickly found out that the traditional military hierarchy no longer was an effective form in fighting a new kind of enemy. In “Team of Teams” McChrystal describes his journey of reorganizing the task force over time and the lessons he learned with that.

The book is written in such a way that you will immediately realize that if such an agile team of teams structure can work in the command driven military, it can certainly work in a business-driven organization. The model might be scary at first for many as it is built on letting go of control and as it has its foundation in trust. Trust in the fact that the decisions will and can be taken on the lowest possible level.

“You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done” *

Liane Davey describes five situations of toxic teams in “You First”: teams with a lack of alignment, teams where poor dynamics threaten the productivity of the team and the engagement and well-being of the team members. You will probably recognize some of the situations as situations you have been in or as situations you might have seen happening in other teams. Liane also describes what you, as a team member, can do to start changing this behavior for the better. Hence the title “You First”.

“The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues” *

Patrick Lencioni’s book “The Ideal Team Player” is a follow-on to his best seller “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”.* Like many of his previous books, this one also starts with a fable to describe a situation and its solutions. His fables feel real and are based on the many client interactions Lencioni had. The solutions he describes, can be implemented in any organization. The second part of the book dives more into the model and provides practical guidelines on how to recognize the three essential virtues of a team player for your organization.

All these books have a focus on teams and team effectiveness. After all, it is in teams where collaboration is done and often can be improved. Teams can be any kind of team: teams within a department, cross-departmental teams and even cross-organizational alliance teams. As you read through these books, you will probably recognize your own teams and identify some helpful tools to improve them for better team collaboration.

Enjoy the read!