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Team Turnarounds: A Playbook for Transforming Underperforming Teams

ISBN: 978-1-118-14478-7
272 pages
July 2012, Jossey-Bass
Team Turnarounds: A Playbook for Transforming Underperforming Teams (1118144783) cover image
How any manager can turn a struggling team into business champs

In today’s uncertain economic environment, teams are asked to do more with less. With resources stretched thin, turning around a struggling team has never been harder, and managers must work to identify and maximize whatever potential strengths a team already has. As sports fans already know, behind every great underdog story is a leader who roots out the competitive advantage that will propel the team to victory. In Team Turnarounds, Joe Frontiera and Dan Leidl share how this fine art of the turnaround really works, from how to inspire the team to the actual tools for change.

Through interviews with team managers and turnaround masters in the NFL, MLB, and the NCAA, as well as managers at top global firms who have successfully reversed their fortunes, they show the six steps every team takes to make a 180 in their performance.

•    Presents a six-step model for turnarounds in any organization, based on the authors’ extensive research with owners and general managers of sport franchises in the MLB, NFL, and NBA
•    Features first-hand accounts of sport turnarounds, from the legendary worst-to-first story of Bill Polian and the Indianapolis Colts to Jeffrey Lurie’s efforts to transform the Philadelphia Eagles

•    Offers behind-the-scenes accounts of effective turnarounds at major organizations like Dominos Pizza, Juniper Networks, iContact, and the Broadway play, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark


No matter how bad the circumstances, how awful the performance, or how far shares have plummeted, Team Turnarounds shows how any organization can make the climb back up to the top.

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Foreword: Adversity Introduces Us to Ourselves vii

Introduction xi

1 Stage I – Leading Past Losing 1

2 Stage II – Committing to Growth 29

3 Stage III – Changing Behaviors 59

4 Stage IV – Embracing Adversity 85

5 Stage V – Achieving Success 107

6 Stage VI – Nurturing a Culture of Excellence 135

7 Th e Team Turnaround Workbook 165

Notes 217

Acknowledgments 227

About the Authors 229

Index 231

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Joe Frontiera and Daniel Leidl co-manage Meno Consulting, a firm that focuses on culture turnarounds, team development, and leadership development. Both hold PhDs from West Virginia University, where they serve as adjunct professors in the Leadership Studies program. They also write for the Washington Post's "On Leadership" series, among other publications.

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“A great book to read... it drilled down into those subtle aspects of any organization's success [and] gave me a toolkit that I can use to engage and enroll all the teams that I'm a part of. …I'd recommend Team Turnarounds as a business book that you read for yourself and share with your associates and team members.”
—BusinessInsider.com

“Pick up a copy of Team Turnarounds to discover the six stages that almost all underperforming teams go through. From state governments to sports teams and corporations, all teams have experienced defeat or, at the very least, lackluster performance. In Team Turnarounds, Frontiera and Leidl detail memorable transformation stories and give readers a personal guide for revamping our own teams.”
—Marshall Goldsmith, author, New York Times bestsellers MOJO and What Got You Here Won't Get You There

“As a member of the New England Patriots and an alumnus of Tufts University's lacrosse program, I've been in the trenches with organizations fighting to get ahead and striving for the winner's circle. Team Turnarounds advances a developmental process that not only captures how to be a winner, but also uses everyday stories to guide people with big goals forward and motivate any leader to strive to be greater.”
—Dan Kraft, New England Patriots

Team Turnarounds provides a compelling look at how great teams stick together and persevere through the toughest times and emerge victorious, whether it’s in sports or the competitive world of business.”
—Dave Brandon, director of athletics, The University of Michigan, and chairman of the board, Domino’s Pizza, Inc.

Team Turnarounds is a great tool for all managers who find themselves faced with intractable problems. The advice and insight provided in the book are tremendously helpful and inspiring for executives with underperforming components. Read it and win!”
—Oliver Luck, athletic director, West Virginia University, and former president and CEO, NFL Europe

“Recovering quickly from adversity is what separates the best from everyone else. Team Turnarounds has the formula and the tools to execute a team’s recovery. Read this book, and then do the outstanding worksheets at the back, to own your own team’s turnaround.”
—Molly Fletcher, sports agent, and author, The Business of Being the Best

Team Turnarounds is thought-provoking, insightful, practical, and readable. It will give you all of the tools necessary to lead a team, especially during a crisis. It should be a must-read for all CEOs and leaders, and I am going to make it required reading for our management and leadership teams at NetCom Learning.”
—Russell Sarder, author, and CEO, NetCom Learning

“An elegantly simple and powerful model for lifting team performance.  Having led and helped to engineer turnarounds in both the corporate world and the non-profit world, I can say that Team Turnarounds captures well what leaders need to do. Well done!”
—Douglas R. Conant, former president and CEO, Campbell Soup Company, and author, TouchPoints

“Many who have participated on teams understand the stark difference between winning and losing, but few understand the dynamics required to alter a team’s performance and affect the outcome. Team Turnarounds is an excellent resource for anyone looking to better understand team dynamics and how to improve their team’s performance.”
—Joseph J. Beneducci, chairman, president & CEO, ProSight Specialty Insurance

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