THE BOOK THAT CHANGED TEAMS FOREVER
LOOKING OUTSIDE MAKES US
Why do good teams fail? Very often, argue Deborah Ancona and Henrik Bresman, it is because they are looking inward instead of outward. Based on years of research examining teams across many industries, Ancona and Bresman show that traditional team models are falling short, and that what’s needed--and what works--is a new brand of team that emphasizes external outreach to stakeholders, extensive ties, expandable tiers, and flexible membership.
The authors highlight that X-teams not only are able to adapt in ways that traditional teams aren’t, but that they actually improve an organization’s ability to produce creative ideas and execute them—increasing the entrepreneurial and innovative capacity within the firm. What’s more, the new environment demands what the authors call “distributed leadership,” and the book highlights how X-teams powerfully embody this idea.
For more and more companies in today’s hyper-competitive business environment, success, and perhaps survival, depends on the ability to generate, leverage, and perhaps most important of all, sustain innovation. The question is: how do you build innovation into the very fabric of your day to day operation?
One eminently practical answer? X-Teams.
Based on a radical rethinking of what makes teams effective in the real world, X-teams approach innovation “from the inside out,” integrating uniquely high levels of external activity with extreme execution. The result? At companies as diverse as Microsoft, BP, Merrill Lynch, CVRD, and Southwest Airlines, X-teams have not only generated highly successful new products and services, they’ve played a key role in making innovation a part of the business culture.
Whether your company is an early stage venture or a Fortune 100 global enterprise, whether you need to drive one critical project, or ten, or twenty…X-teams can help you tap into the potential for creative leadership across your entire organization.
In X-Teams: How to Build Teams That Lead, Innovate, and Succeed, Ancona and Bresman draw on years of research to show how traditional, inward-looking team models fall short in today’s business environment. What’s needed—and what works —is a new kind of team, the “X-Team,” with a flexible membership and leadership structure that continuously reaches outward to fuel the innovation process.
Citing detailed examples from Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, BP, Merrill Lynch, and many other companies, Ancona and Bresman demonstrate how to build X-teams that:
* Keep pace with shifts in markets, technologies, cultures, and your competition
* Innovate by moving quickly from generating ideas to executing and diffusing them throughout your organization
* Employ “distributed leadership” to unlock crucial information, expertise, and new ways of working together—wherever these qualities reside within or outside your company
In a world where adaptability and creativity are paramount to an enterprise’s success - and even its survival - X-Teams is your handbook for constructing teams that will maximize your company’s innovative capacity.
“X-Teams may be the most important book on teams to come out in the last two decades.”
Edgar H. Schein, Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus, MIT Sloan School
“A key challenge for management is 'how to get things done!' Increasingly, teams are the answer. Drawing on years of research, Ancona and Bresman show how teams need to interact externally, as well as function cohesively as a group, in order to succeed. X-Teams is a must-read whether you lead, manage, or are a member of a team.”
John Reed, former Chairman, New York Stock Exchange; Retired Chairman and CEO, Citigroup
“X-Teams makes it clear that distributed leadership through external team focus is the most important driver of a team's success. A worthwhile read.”
Mike Armstrong, Trustee and former Chairman, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Hospital and Health System; former Chairman, Comcast; former Chairman and CEO, ATT and Hughes
“There are many difficult and intricate tasks that employees have to tackle in today’s enterprise, but none are as complex and risky as innovation. The imperative to design processes and generate intensive collaborations toward shared objectives cannot be realized by chance. Deborah Ancona and Henrik Bresman's X-Teams offers a systematic way to surmount this challenge, enhanced by many practical examples.”
Dan Vasella, former Chairman & CEO, Novartis AG
“One of the first to show that the best teams are often their own worst enemy. By focusing on relationships, trust, and commitment, teams often blind themselves to the larger world—within and beyond their organization—crucial to ultimate success. X-Teams tells the ‘other half of the story’ about great teams: what it means to balance great teamwork with great work of teams.”
Peter Senge, Author of The Fifth Discipline
“The authors succeed in conveying the importance of wide-ranging exploration and teamwork as essential for innovation.”
The Financial Times
“The authors dive into the nitty-gritty details of engineering a better team.”