Review – Why Teams Win
Why Teams Win: 9 Keys to Success in Business, Sport and Beyond
Dr. Saul L. Miller (2009)
Why Teams Win was written by Dr. Saul Miller, one of North America’s leading performance psychologists. The book breaks down Dr. Miller’s work with hundreds of high-performance teams—in the worlds of sport, business, healthcare, and the arts—into relevant moments to help individuals and teams perform at their best.
The book identifies 9 key characteristics of why teams are successful. Simply put, “Winning teams are about people working well together.” (p.10). That is the essential basis of team success; however, Dr. Miller explores in depth each characteristic as well as the one fundamental component that threads through all 9 keys: leadership.
In today’s environment, there is an even greater need for people to work together successfully.
In Why Teams Win, Dr. Miller connects sport as a perfect metaphor to the world of business, emphasing its bottom-line performance culture and its relentless focus on creating winning teams.
For those companies that are in the midst of transforming from a culture of entitlement to a performance-based culture, Why Teams Win will symbolize the proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ – a real inspiration that your team will be successful.
The structure of the book is simple; each chapter reveals another key characteristic that is critical to building successful teams (there are nine in total). Each key is presented in the context of how to improve personal, organization, and team performance; and the bonus is a self-evaluation and team-building exercise after each chapter. Brilliant!
Throughout the book, Dr. Miller shares numerous stories and anecdotes gleaned from his extensive experience in both the sport and business worlds. For this reason, it is a compelling and interesting read; I particularly enjoyed a story about the late NHL coach Roger Neilson that illustrated the importance of “working together and using each other effectively is a key to success”. (p.159)
I had several inspiring moments while I was reading this book; I found Dr. Miller’s thinking crystallized much of what we have experienced and learned while working with leaders of organizations.
Interestingly, he affirmed that, “people who have a meaningful goal are willing to work harder, persist longer, and endure more…and all of these qualities lead to success” (p. 14). And further to this specific point, “(w)ithout the belief, people are less willing and capable of investing themselves fully and expending the effort necessary to make it happen” (p.133).
Many of these kinds of insights, explained in Why Teams Win, connect to our company’s focus: strategic internal communications. As a team of communication experts we understand the importance of leaders who coach and communicate to engage employees. “Winning teams are inspired by a sense of purpose and work toward a goal that has meaning for them” (p. 14).
The success of a business or sports team may have a winning strategy, but the organization’s success depends on the individuals within the organization to execute on that strategy.