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The Wisdom of Teams by Douglas K. Smith, Jon R. Katzenbach

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9

Teams and Performance

The Reinforcing Cycle

SIGNIFICANT PERFORMANCE CHALLENGES do more than anything else to foster teams. The issue is not whether such challenges exist; every organization faces them. Indeed, as phenomena like customer service, total quality, and continuous improvement and innovation become more important in sustaining competitive advantage, the kinds of performance challenges that produce teams multiply. From a total-organization perspective, the more critical question is whether established managerial values and behaviors—or what we call the company’s “performance ethic”—helps or harms the team-inducing effect of performance challenges.

We have observed a mutually reinforcing relationship between the strength of a company’s ...

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