Read “Team Turnarounds” to Win at the Game of Business

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Team TurnaroundsAre you finding yourself part of a failing team and wondering “Now what?”  You’ll want to check out Team Turnarounds: A Playbook for Transforming Underperforming Teams by Joe Frontiera (@JoeFrontiera) and Daniel Leidl.

This is a great book to read over the next few weeks or months with the fall sports season approaching.  But Team Turnaounds doesn’t just use team sports as examples, they also have quite a few business examples, as well.

After all, a business is nothing more than a group of people working together – as a team.

In Team Turnarounds the authors discuss the key parallels between business and sports.  One parallel, for example, is that each requires a committed leader; someone who is willing to stand up and tell the truth to the larger organization.  This message often takes the form of something like this, “You’re really not that good” and then “We can be better.”

The Authors Bring Sports Psychology to the World of Business

Joe Frontiera and Daniel Leidl co-manage Meno Consulting, a firm that focuses on culture turnaround, team development and leadership development.  Both hold PhDs in sports psychology from West Virginia University, where they serve as adjunct professors in the Leadership Studies program.

You can also read their articles “On Leadership” in The Washington Post.

It’s no surprise that the authors’ experience in sports psychology resonates with business leaders.  Both sports and business are judged on performance.  And Team Turnarounds explores how business and sports leaders motivate their teams toward a common goal.

Put the 6 Steps to Success to Work for Your Team

In their many interviews with business and sports leaders, Frontiera and Leidl uncovered six key steps that teams have to take to go from worst to first:

  1. Leading past losing: Take a good hard look at where you are and tell the truth about it.
  2. Committing to growth: After you accept reality, you have to see past it and commit to a new future.
  3. Changing behaviors: This stage transforms planning and talking into actually doing and taking actions.
  4. Embracing adversity: Domino’s Pizza is featured as an example of a company facing their obstacles head on using them to drive their success.
  5. Achieving success: Once your team starts winning, the next step is to focus on what’s next.  So your winning isn’t really the end – it’s the beginning.
  6. Nurturing a culture of excellence: This final stage features an interview with Dan Rooney from the Steelers and what it takes to protect and maintain a dynasty.  Just for fun, you can also think about where Penn State went wrong in this stage when they decimated a brand and dynasty that it took decades to build.

Arguably, the most powerful chapter of the book is Chapter 7, where the authors offer a very thorough workbook or playbook that you can use with your team to create your own turnaround.

Why Team Turnarounds Appeals to a Sports Dummy

Team Turnarounds really spoke to me and I’m a self-proclaimed sports dummy.  I only follow two football teams; my hometown Steelers and Penn State (well, at least until all that mess happened, now I need distance).  But in both of these circumstances, I can say that I’ve watched these teams play not because of the sport, per se, but because of all the things that Frontiera and Leidl talk about in Team Turnarounds.

This book appealed to me because it drilled down into those subtle aspects of any organizations’ success and it gave me a toolkit that I can use to engage and enroll all the teams that I’m a part of.

I also think this book is ideal for those business owners (like me) who are an integral part of virtual teams where you take the lead sometimes and then you follow other times.  I found the insight and advice in this book invaluable in helping me motivate and manage the teams I participate in.

You Don’t Need to be Failing to Take on Team Turnarounds

I’d recommend Team Turnarounds as a business book that you read for yourself and share with your associates and team members.  This isn’t a book for failing organizations, it’s a book for any organization that requires the contribution of more than one person.

It’s often said that none of us reaches success on our own; success comes on the heels of those who came before us and those who work with us.  Team Turnarounds is certainly the playbook you’ll want to use to win the game of business.

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

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