“Work Better Together” Provides a Much Needed Update to Team Building


A new and updated team-building model that integrates well-being and productivity.

Work Better Together

If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

If you’re one of those businesses struggling to recruit employees or workers, this just might be the book for you. You’ll have to keep reading and see.

Today, I’m going to tell you about a book that was released this summer called “Work Better Together: How to Cultivate Strong Relationships to Maximize Well-Being and Boost Bottom Lines” by Jen Fisher and Anh Phillips.

At the time this book was released, people were just getting back to work and we were experiencing the “Great Resignation” as it’s now known. I didn’t read it as soon as I received it, but over a recent rainy weekend, I picked it up. So, here are a few of my thoughts on this book — see if it helps you create a thriving workplace.

A Little About the Authors Jen Fisher and Anh Phillips

Jen Fisher is Deloitte’s Chief Well-Being Officer in the US. She drives the strategy and innovation around work-life, health, and wellness. She empowers Deloitte’s people to prioritize their well-being so they can be at their best in both their professional and personal lives. She also hosts the WorkWell podcast.

Anh Phillips is a researcher and author from Deloitte Consulting. She is the co-author of The Technology Fallacy and her work is often cited in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Fortune.

Now that you’ve met the authors, let’s talk a little bit about what you can expect to learn from them.

When you see a book written by a C-level officer and researcher from Deloitte, you can count on the fact that they have lots and lots of data that comes from their customers. Another thing you can count on is that these customers are primarily going to be mid-sized to larger businesses. That means they will have entire teams for tasks that you spend a couple of hours on. In other words, these organizations are more complex and have more moving parts, simply because of their size.

However, the key points that these authors make can be universally applied to a business of any size. If you take the time to adapt some of the thinking in this book to your business, you might find that scaling and growing is easier because you baked these systems right in.

When Was the Last Time You Read Something About Teams?

As someone who has a degree and a lot of experience managing both “real life” and virtual teams, I have to admit that it’s been YEARS since I’ve seen any kind of book on teamwork. And, all I have to say is — it’s about time!

I’m willing to bet that the last time you had any kind of team training, you learned that old “Forming, Norming, Storming, Performing” model. As a bit of trivia for you, that model was introduced in 1965! So, yeah. I think we are due for an update.

Teamwork is About Well-Being and Not Just Productivity

The one thing that jumped out at me in “Work Better Together” is that the context of teamwork is shifting from productivity to well-being. This is supported by data that Gallup collects as part of their employee engagement surveys where 7 out of the 12 survey questions relate to working with others.

In fact, early in the book, both authors share very personal stories about the importance of personal connections in our lives and our work. I was especially touched by Fisher’s story about an employee who left her team because they didn’t want to work for her anymore; not the company, not the job, but her.

This is an important distinction to make as it’s easy to blame technology for decreasing our connection to people. As you’ll see in this book, there is so much more to human relationships at work and our overall well-being.

What’s Your Team Type?

My favorite part of the book was the discussion about different kinds of work teams and how identifying the kind of work team you have in your workplace creates healthier, happier, and more productive work environments.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love models like this! The great thing about this type of model is that you can quickly see what type of a team environment you are in, and what to do about it.

This is a summary of what’s in the book, as you dig deeper, you’ll gain insights into how to build a trusted team — the ideal team environment.

The one thing that isn’t included (and I wish it were) is specific guidance on how to transition into a trusted team from any of the other quadrants.

Who Should Read “Work Better Together”

While this book is ideal for C-level executives from mid-sized and larger organizations, I think it’s a worthy read for small business owners, solopreneurs andentrepreneurs who are looking for low-cost ways to attract and keep employees.

Get discounts and special offers on new and classic business books with an Audible Premium Plus membership. Learn more and sign up for an account today.

Image: amazon

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."