Skip to main content

Who's Got the Ball? (and Other Nagging Questions About Team Life): A Player's Guide for Work Teams

Who's Got the Ball? (and Other Nagging Questions About Team Life): A Player's Guide for Work Teams

Coach Maureen O'Brien

ISBN: 978-0-787-90057-1 April 1995 Jossey-Bass 187 Pages


In Stock



More than a fad, teaming is proving to be a new way oforganizational life, with eight out of every ten employees nowinvolved in some kind of teamwork. But how exactly does one play ona team at work? While there are plenty of manuals, trainers, andtheories that help managers create, lead, and reward teams, actualteam members are often left struggling without a handbook or acoach.

With refreshing clarity and common sense, Maureen O'Brien, a teamexpert with more than twenty years of experience as a player,coach, and business consultant, offers one-on-one coaching tips toteam players in Who's Got the Ball? The author covers all thebases, from setting a team's goals and articulating its noblepurpose, to banishing boring meetings, deciding how to makedecisions, and even using flip charts effectively. Friendly andconversational, O'Brien offers experience-based, easy-to-implementguidelines that are eminently practical and surprisingly fun. Herconcise coaching notes, wonderfully illustrated by real-lifeorganizational situations, address every aspect of daily team life,including: creating a workable team structure * being a valuableteam member * avoiding common teamwork traps * running an effectiveteam meeting * making and implementing decisions * leading ateam.

From developing a new team and determining just what kind of gameyour team is playing--individualistic baseball, interdependentbasketball, or tightly orchestrated football--to dealing withpersonality-based conflicts, knowing when to take a time-out, andhonoring a project's most valuable player, Who's Got the Ball? isan invaluable guide to surviving--and thriving--on today's workteams.

Preface xi

The Author xvii

Part One Team Fundamentals 1

Are You a Team? 3

What’s Your Game? 5

What’s Your Noble Purpose? 16

Are You Winning? 19

Human Doings Versus Human Beings 21

It’s Just a Stage 23

What Does a High-Performing Team Look Like? 30

Your Team Is One Player in a Bigger Game 34

All High-Performing Teams Have Ground Rules 36

Part Two Being a Valuable Team Member 41

Who Is Responsible? 43

Every Player Contributes to the Process 47

Summarizer, Orienter, Harmonizer, and Other Helpful Roles 49

Recognize Your MVP 54

Get New Players into the Game 56

Take a Team Pulse 59

Words Don’t Always Mean what They Mean 61

You Don’t Have to Be Best Friends 65

Part Three Avoiding Common Team Problems 67

About Conflict 69

The Power of Constructive Negative Feedback 72

When You Reach an Impasse, Talk about Needs 78

Team Process Is Confidential 81

What Builds or Destroys Trust? 83

Manage Your Differences 86

Words Are Powerful 89

Don’t Take It Personally 94

The Deadly Whack-A-Mo 96

Don’t Confuse Interruptions with Enthusiasm 100

The Talk-A-Thon 104

Off Course and Down the Road of Totem Poles 108

“Hey, No Problem” 110

How the Great Elaborators Finally Got to the Point 113

Team Burnout 115

Simple but Powerful Team Ground Rules 118

Part Four Running an Effective Team Meeting 121

Spend Time Together 123

Agree on a Game Plan 125

Everyone Must Respond Out Loud 128

Call Your Own Time-Outs 131

All Ideas Aren’t Good Ideas But 133

The Magic of Flip Charts 137

Meeting Minutes Made Easy 140

Part Five Making Good Team Decisions and Putting Them into Play 143

No Team Is Completely “Self-Directed” 145

What Decisions Is Your Team Empowered to Make? 148

Decide How You Will Decide 153

Brainstorming: Use It at the Right Time 156

Do Great Minds Really Think Alike? 159

Who’s Got the Ball? 162

Part Six Notes for Team Leaders 165

Why Teams Get Stuck 167

Every Team Needs a Leader with Clout 171

Name That Decision 173

Invest in Your Team’s Self-Concept 176

From Manager to Team Leader 180

How Successful Team Leaders View Their Role 182

How Winning Teams Describe Their Leaders 184

A Letter from the Coach 188

References 189

"Finally, a book for team members--three cheers for Coach O'Brien!Who's Got the Ball? is an easy, enjoyable, and invigorating bookfilled with powerful, useable, common sense coaching tips. Thisbook should be required reading for all team members in today'sworkforce.'' --Freda M. Peters, vice president, Human Resources,Branson Ultrasonics Corporation, subsidiary of Emerson ElectricCompany

"Who's Got the Ball? is one of the best books on teaming that youwill ever read--clear, insightful, humorous. An excellent handbookfor any business or organization struggling and/or coping withbreaking down barriers and building teams.'' --Hellene S. Runtagh,president & CEO, GE Information Services, Inc.

"Maureen O'Brien is the quintessential coach. She gives teammembers the confidence and motivation to play, helps us build agameplan, shows us the moves, and cheers us on to victory.''--Laura Northup, team member, General Electric