Nice Teams Finish Last
The Secret to Unleashing Your Team's Maximum Potential
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.
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
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.
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