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Extraordinary Groups: How Ordinary Teams Achieve Amazing Results

ISBN: 978-0-470-40481-2
256 pages
September 2009, Jossey-Bass
Extraordinary Groups: How Ordinary Teams Achieve Amazing Results (0470404817) cover image


Two leading experts present a new approach to help teams nurture extraordinary experiences and excel

Occasionally we participate in a group that inspires us to describe the experience as "powerful" or simply "wow." Why are some teams described in such exceptional terms, while most are not? Bellman and Ryan argue that an extraordinary group emerges when a group experience satisfies two or more core needs that members intuitively bring to any group they join. Based on extensive research, the book presents the Group Needs Model to help anyone nurture extraordinary experiences in their groups and achieve outstanding results.
  • Introduces a new approach for creating extraordinary experiences and results in teams
  • Identifies the key characteristics that define exceptional teams
  • Describes the Group Needs Model for encouraging extraordinary experiences and team success
  • A timely resource for anyone who leads groups including HR and OD professionals, managers, executives, nonprofit managers and directors, virtual teams leaders, and trainers
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Table of Contents

I: Overview.

1 Why Small Groups Are Especially Important Now.

2 What's Different About Extraordinary Groups.

3 What Ordinary Groups Need.

II: Understanding the Group Needs Model.

4 Growing Toward Your Potential.

5 Joining for Purpose.

6 Creating Change Together.

7 The Heart of Transformation.

III: Sharing Leadership.

8 Embracing Group Differences.

9 Leading Extraordinary Groups.

10 Living the Promise of Amazing Groups.

Appendix A Applications of Practice in Using the Group Needs Model.

Appendix B Extraordinary Groups: A Nutshell.

Appendix C Practicing What We Preach.

Appendix D More Group Resources.


About the Authors.


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Author Information

Geoffrey Bellman is a recognized thought leader on organizations, leadership, life, and change. He has written six books including The Consultant's Calling from Jossey-Bass. His private sector work has focused on renewing large, mature corporations. In recent years, he has given more of his attention to community-based organizations.

Kathleen Ryan is co-founder of The Orion Partnership, a firm that focuses on culture change, team development, executive on-boarding, and coaching. As one client has said, "She is an organizational consultant with an instinct for translating complex human behavior into practical concepts." Ryan is the coauthor of The Courageous Messenger and Driving Fear Out of the Workplace, both from Jossey-Bass.

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Press Release

September 29, 2009
Authors Geoffrey M. Bellman and Kathleen D. Ryan Introduce Model to Make All Groups and Teams Excel

Why are some teams described in such exceptional terms, while most are not? People instinctively sense when a group experience is something special, something that surpasses their expectations in a positive and unique way. These extraordinary groups achieve outstanding results and their members—individually or collectively—experience a profound shift in how they view their world. 

In their new book EXTRAORDINARY GROUPS: How Ordinary Teams Achieve Amazing Results (Jossey-Bass, $27.95, September) authors Geoffrey M. Bellman and Kathleen D. Ryan reveal how group dynamics foster these striking qualitative transformations. Based on an extensive field study and filled with illustrative examples, EXTRAORDINARY GROUPS presents Bellman and Ryan’s tested Group Needs Model. Seeing the world of groups through this elegant framework allows readers to cultivate extraordinary experiences within their teams. 

Bellman and Ryan’s model reveals six core group needs forming three pairs: One pair relates to the individual, one to the group, and the third to the world in which the group exists. 

The Group Needs Model is composed of these six elements: 

1) Acceptance of self while moving toward one’s Potential 

2) A Bond with others that grows while pursuing a common Purpose 

3) Understanding the Reality of the world while collectively making an Impact 

“This is a must-read for leaders looking to achieve transformational results in their organizations,” says JP Morgan Chase, Pacific Northwest chairman Phyllis Campbell. “The authors not only make a compelling case about the power of engaging small groups, they give us a pragmatic blueprint to move groups to ever higher levels of performance.” 

Through a combination of innovative content, supportive context, and constructive communication, groups have a higher rate of success. No matter if the group or team gathers at work, at home, or within the community; when a group experiences and meets two or more of these needs, the individual member will be forever changed by the collective experience.

Written for managers and executives, facilitators and trainers, and all others who lead or practice in groups, EXTRAORDINARY GROUPS is an invaluable resource that will help you achieve outstanding team results time and time again.

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