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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas
This is an interesting book having as its main tenet the notion that successful teams are founded on the proper integration of individual interests within the whole. If you are in business and don't mind the somewhat American orientation, NBA comes to mind, then I think you will find some interesting and useful insights and tools that can as it were be lifted straight...
Published on 22 Oct. 2012 by Amazon Customer

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3.0 out of 5 stars Teamwork? It's so last year...................
Dump the team if you want to do well. Dr Mark de Rond, a leading expert on management at Judge Business School in Cambridge, says teams are so difficult to manage that it is better to avoid them altogether. “If you can do without a team I think you should. We think of teams as being relatively sexy. I’m not sure that is actually right. Ironically, since...
Published 9 months ago by Roger Sharp


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3.0 out of 5 stars Teamwork? It's so last year..................., 9 May 2014
By 
Roger Sharp (Kenley, Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: There is an I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance (Hardcover)
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Dump the team if you want to do well. Dr Mark de Rond, a leading expert on management at Judge Business School in Cambridge, says teams are so difficult to manage that it is better to avoid them altogether. “If you can do without a team I think you should. We think of teams as being relatively sexy. I’m not sure that is actually right. Ironically, since I’ve done extensive work on teams, I think that if you can avoid them you should because they can be very difficult to manage well".

He goes on to suggest that a lot of organisations are far better off getting people to work together as a working group where everyone knows what he or she has to do.

The author poses a number of questions: Why is it hard to get teams to realise their potential? How can people work more effectively on teams and why is there conflict when a team’s intentions are aligned? He looks at whether conflict is harmful or whether it helps the team dynamic. Key business issues like these, he says, mimic many of the challenges faced by sports teams, but the sports-related metaphors commonly used in business are trite and superficial, masking lessons that could be drawn from the world of high-performance athletics.

“Performance should take precedence over teamwork because over-emphasising the harmonious nature of a team can have a negative impact on performance. The assumption that many people make is that team harmony is somehow a cause or precursor for performance. A lot of the evidence nowadays points exactly the other way.”

It's an interesting point of view but it would be a brave man to minute it for the next board meeting.

Read more: [...]
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3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting ideas, 7 Nov. 2012
By 
lilysmum "lilysmum65" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: There is an I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance (Hardcover)
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This book is an exploration of why and how teams work and sometimes how they break down. The author has spent a lot of time studying teams, observing them and their coaches or team leaders, and watching what appears to work to motivate them to success. The sections cover: why inequality in teams is a good thing (eg in pay, intelligence and talent between individuals); why harmony can hurt performance (team members do better when they compete with each other - though this sometimes makes teams appear dysfunctional and unhappy, they don't necessarily achieve less); why perception matters more than reality; why productivity tumbles with size; why superstition can be good for performance, and why so much depends on so little that is quantifiable.

I think the book is meant to be more thought provoking than a guide or a "how-to" manual. There are lots of anecdotes and examples, especially drawn from sport, to show how sometimes teams with superstars on them can fail and teams where everyone is mediocre can achieve more success together. That was interesting. Another interesting section was about the proliferation of data crunching and how intuition can also play a key role in improving performance. I particularly liked this quote from Saint-Exupery that I hadn't come across before: "If you want to build a ship, don't teach the workers to find the wood and saw it and nail the boards together; teach them how to love the seas."

It's got snippets in it about coaching and the GROW model which I would think readers of this type of book would be familiar with, and also things like "social loafing" and how tension in teams can ignite great performance. Not all are applicable to teams in the workplace but definitely a book to make you think about how teams work and how others have tackled leadership challenges. Examples of the leadership style of Sir Alex Ferguson and Fabio Capello are both to be found inside these pages!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good Concise Read With Thought Provoking Observations, 8 Nov. 2012
This review is from: There is an I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance (Hardcover)
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This is short, snappy book more motivational than 'how-to' in nature to my mind, and outlines some good, thought-provoking ideas.

Teams are complex organisms and De Rond does a good job of analysing how teams work in terms of structure, morale and reward and starts exploring how the variants in those issues can be utilised in the business arena.

Is a satisifying, concluding system arrived at? Well not in 150 pages it isn't but one suspects neither would it be in 500. This is more I feel a book of ideas and pointers rather than solutions and there's nothing wrong with that. Particularly as the business world cannot be reduced to rational actions- assuming that, has been the biggest mistake our top economists have made for over 40 years now- and factors like superstition, the triumph of an almost dsyfunctional belief in what should 'be' rather than what 'is' and the basic human urge to simply take a chance [aka gamble], are more prevalent in most business [and life] decisions than pouring over spreadsheets.

In that way, analysing how human teams in sport work and the nature of their motivation, leadership and essentially erratic kinship is an interesting approach to de-constructing business systems. Worth a read.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Jury is out, 12 May 2013
By 
artemisrhi "artemisrhi" (Forest of Dean) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: There is an I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance (Hardcover)
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This was written by a Associate Professor of Strategy and Organization at the Judge Business School at Cambridge University. de Rondo during his research spent time with successful sports teams to understand what makes them tick. This research as then been used by the likes of Saatchi and Saatchi to help them in their businesses. It is good that it used examples of sports team both in UK and America. I has a good index and solid references.

I was particularly interested in the section on "social loafing" when he discussed the drop off in productivy the larger a group gets - this is then discussed agianst the context of rowing events and tug of war.

What makes me wonder about the rigour of the book is that he talks about Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United - demonstrably as man who knows how to make a sports and a business team work but he is mentioned very briefly in the context of David Beckham and Eric Cantona and there is little or no analysis of this material. This lack of analysis brings into question for me the rest of the book - does it really deal with anything with any real rigour?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas, 22 Oct. 2012
By 
Amazon Customer (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: There is an I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an interesting book having as its main tenet the notion that successful teams are founded on the proper integration of individual interests within the whole. If you are in business and don't mind the somewhat American orientation, NBA comes to mind, then I think you will find some interesting and useful insights and tools that can as it were be lifted straight from the box and applied without delay. I also believe that the average life coach will also find plenty to inspire some interventions of use to their clients. However I do wonder about how sound the research base is. At times I sense some parts of the text may be a little more motivational than scientific. That in itself doesn't detract but it may possibly leave some parts of its target audience a little cold and possibly sceptical, hence the four stars rather than five.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Yebbut..., 1 Mar. 2013
By 
E. L. Wisty "World Domination League" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: There is an I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The premise behind this book is perfectly valid - in a commercial world which wants to cast all of its employees on the bed of Procrustes and mould them into "equal" team members, managers and bosses would do well to appreciate individualism, and sport indeed provides a good model for this argument. However I do not feel that Mark de Rond has made the arguments forcefully or clearly enough, or made it transfer over to the sphere of business well enough.

Indeed I fear that many managers and bosses reading this will misunderstand and come away with the wrong message entirely, going even further in burying the needs of individuals underneath that of companies and shareholders, and use it to justify practices such as underpaying certain individuals, fostering dog-eat-dog competitiveness and "rank-and-yank".
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3.0 out of 5 stars Rather lightweight, 10 Sept. 2013
By 
D. P. Mankin (Ceredigion, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: There is an I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance (Hardcover)
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I was expecting rather more from a book published by Harvard Business Review Press. Putting typically gimmicky Americanisms aside (e.g. "Lovable fools and competent jerks") I was expecting more depth - the main body of the book is only 150 pages (which does raise a question about it being published in the more expensive hardback format). The central premise of the book (captured in the book's strapline: "What elite athletes and coaches really know about high performance") merits a more comprehensive exploration of the topic - especially if business people are going to sit up and take notice of any of the autghor's conclusions. If argumentation is going to be effective then it must be based on a more insightful analysis. Overall rather lightweight and disappointing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ideas snappily presented but uneven in the fleshing out., 28 Nov. 2013
By 
Jack Chakotay "Ender Brazil" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: There is an I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance (Hardcover)
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This is a nice book that you can run through and absorb everything the author has to say. Nothing earth shattering when placed in the context of the masses that has been written about team management but there are some nice insights when applying the sports perspective. I enjoyed it in a light sense and there is a feeling that the author has a good feel of his subject material and is very motivated.

I had the impression that he was aiming for lightness so that you could take the messages away but for interest sake he has expanded on all the eye catching stuff eg Sir Alex Ferguson. You can't help but notice how this makes other less expanded passages seem less interesting or glib.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four star book, 15 Dec. 2013
By 
Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe "Cathy SL" (Reading Berks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: There is an I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance (Hardcover)
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This book is written by Mark de Rond, who is an Associate Professor of Strategy and Organisation at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. This nicely presented book aims to strengthen the reader's understanding of the issues that permeate teams of high-performers. It combines social and psychological research with examples from world-class sports teams, coaches, athletes, and business executives.

This is a worthwhile book, extensively footnoted. It would probably resonate most with managers who like sport - and know the individuals used as examples eg Seve Ballesteros, and Adrian Moorhouse.

Recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Short and snappy, 11 May 2013
By 
southcoastreviewer (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: There is an I in Team: What Elite Athletes and Coaches Really Know About High Performance (Hardcover)
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and nothing new unfortunately, and nothing you can't find for free off the back of an hour or two's hard Googling, hence the 3 star rating. De Rond is an accomplished writer and clearly passionate about the subject matter, but this text is too short to stand alone as a great reference material for the individual against team work and dynamics.

One or two references that are great to dip back to aren't enough for me to rate this book. Move along, nothing new or meaningful to see here.
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