All of us have probably thought at sometime or another, "I need to get equipped with some resources and knowledge to connect and grow my team."
You have come to the right place. We take education and training seriously (though we still keep things fun). That means we try to focus in on key ideas that will push the needle for your team and make it more successful. We hope this short list of books, podcasts, activities, and videos really gives you the extra edge that it takes to become a high-performing team. We also have included a team assessment that will help you determine at what stage of development your team is at and an accompanying guide that will give you ideas how to take it to the next level.
This page is in no way a complete list or the "resource page to end all resources pages," but it is a good start for anyone looking to gain some insights on how to take things to the next level at work, school, home, or on the playing field.
If there are problems with any of the links or you just want to dig deeper into certain ideas, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and it would be our pleasure to assist you further. Enjoy!
Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high achievers different?
Outliers gives food for thought to help team leaders identify the factors that make team members successful.
This straightforward parable can spark discussions about overcoming obstacles. A young war veteran is handed an opportunity that could make or break his career. If he accepts the job and pulls it off, he's a go-getter; if he fails, it's curtains. His motto—“It shall be done”—sums up Kyne's point: even if you're unsure, say you can do it. Then figure out how to do it and make sure you succeed.
No, the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre ones has little to do with what they know and how smart they are and more to do with how healthy they are. Simply put, an organization is healthy when it is whole, consistent, and complete; when its management, operations, and culture are unified. A healthy organization outperforms its counterparts, is free of politics and confusion, and provides an environment that star performers never want to leave.
In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, suffer from a disability, lose a parent, attend a mediocre school, or endure any number of other apparent setbacks.
Why is it so hard to work well with some people? The book reveals the strengths and weaknesses of four different people styles, providing practical techniques that work both on the job and off.
John C. Maxwell offers a succinct and inspiring framework for enhancing the leadership abilities you already possess. The book addresses how to follow your vision, produce a lasting legacy, inspire loyalty, influence people, and create a foundation of trust.
Good attitudes do not guarantee a team’s success, but bad attitudes guarantee its ruin. With this concise and reader-friendly guidebook, you can master attitude issues, including recognizing how recognizing how attitudes impact performance, pinpointing problem behaviors, identifying six common attitude problems that undermine teamwork, and discovering the secret to changing a bad attitude.
The Energy Bus, takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment - at work and at home. Jon infuses this story with keen insights and powerful road map to overcoming adversity and bringing out the best in yourself and your team. When you get on The Energy Bus you’ll enjoy the ride of your life!
The primary obstacle to making lasting changes is a conflict that’s built into our brains. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control.
Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.
Too many workplaces are driven by cynicism, paranoia, and self-interest. But the best ones foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a "Circle of Safety" that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside. Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories that range from the military to big business, from government to investment banking.
What do some organizations do seemingly better than most of their opponents? As a result of of conducting more than 100 interviews with some of the most successful teams and organizations in the country, Don Yaeger realized that successful teams are driven to create a “culture of greatness” centered on four pillars: Targeting Purpose, Effective Management, Activating Efficiency, and Mutual Direction.
The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues by Patrick Lencioni
Lencioni tells the story of a leader desperate to save a company by restoring its cultural commitment to teamwork. He discover the virtues that the team players actually possess, then build the culture around those virtues. Beyond the fable, he presents a practical framework and actionable tools to identify, hire, and develop ideal team players. This useful and compelling book will help you create a culture around teamwork, hire real team players, and improve yourself.
Dr. Henry Cloud, a clinical psychologist, leadership coach, corporate consultant, and nationally syndicated radio host, shows how our character can keep us from achieving all we want to (or could) be. People with integrity are able to connect with others and build trust, are oriented toward reality, finish well, embrace the negative, are oriented toward increase, and have an understanding of the transcendent.
How To Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life by Pat Williams and Jim Denney
An inspiring biography of one of the most influential and beloved figures of the 21st century that pulls together all the various strands of Disney's life into one straightforward, easy-to-read tale of imagination, perseverance, and optimism, scraping away the minutiae to capture the true magic of a brilliant maverick.
The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter. This is a must-read for any leader, manager, or individual who wants to do less, but better, and declutter and organize their own their lives.
How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? For years, this question preyed on the mind of leadership researcher Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great? Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team carefully selected a set of comparison companies to identify what it takes to make the leap from good to great.
Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty?
In studying the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world, Simon Sinek discovered that they all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way-and it's the complete opposite of what everyone else does. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers might have little in common, but they all started with “why."
In Decisive, the Heaths introduce a four-step process designed to counteract the biases and irrationalities that disrupt our decision-making. We learn the answers to critical questions like these: How can we stop the cycle of agonizing over our decisions? How can we make group decisions without destructive politics? And how can we ensure that we don’t overlook precious opportunities to change our course?
All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations—personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented.
In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses.
At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key concepts—from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making—that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters—this painstakingly researched book explains that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently. They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.
In Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, John C. Maxwell delves into the process of becoming a successful leader by examining how questions can be used to advantage. What are the questions leaders should ask themselves? What questions should they ask members of their team? He then responds to the toughest problems leaders have presented to him.
Free Games and Activities
Icebreakers are a tool you can use to build camaraderie and trust amongst your team. This document will teach you about what they are, rules for employing them, how they can help your team, and even examples of activities you can do today. Regardless if your team knows each other or not, these activities are going to take your meetings, outings, celebrations, and daily lives to a more fun and productive place.
Learn names or a little about those around you! You can even adapt different questions to make it an exercise about goals, dreams, or communication. This game requires few props but does require people, space, and time. This simple activity can teach you a lot about people. You may learn names, facts about each other, key pieces of their past or even what they hope for the future. This game is a low-impact way to really get to know your team, even if you thought you already knew them.
Learn names or a little about those around you! You can even adapt different questions to make it an exercise about goals, dreams, or communication. This activity requires only people, space, and time. The outcome could be to learn names, or just to get people moving and laughing together. You can make it competitive or just keep things light. This is a low-impact activity with tons of laughs guaranteed.
A high energy game for mostly our student groups, this activity is focused on getting people moving and having fun together. A boundary like a rope, a blindfold, people, and a pool noodle are all that is required for this activity. The purpose of this game is to bond and have fun. As mentioned before, it is higher impact, but can be modified to be less physical. Whatever you choose to do with it, this game will get your group moving, laughing, and connecting for sure!
The purpose of this assessment is to identify the present stage of your team. It is not intended to make judgments about a team’s placement or condition. Based on "Tuckman's Stages of Group Development," a paper written by Bruce Wayne Tuckman, professor of educational psychology at Ohio State University, this assessment will help you identify where you are and then help you navigate to where you want to be. An individual can’t reach maturity without guidance, the same is true of every team. That’s where we come in. For steps leaders can take to improve performance, please refer to our document “Boosting Team Performance at Every Stage.”
Assessment is meant for adult groups.
Our Team Assessment is based on the precepts of the groundbreaking paper, “Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development." Bruce Wayne Tuckman, professor of educational psychology at Ohio State Universtity, created his model of team development to include the stages of Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. He later added a fifth stage called Adjourning which we also refer to as Reforming when a team remains intact after the goal is reached and is given a new mission. We use these stages as a baseline for our Team Assessment, and this guide will decode your results and aid you in making changes today that will take your team performance to where you want to be.
Internationally recognized leadership expert John C. Maxwell joins the podcast to discuss one of the single most important traits every great leader possesses—curiosity—and how it can help you win. Plus, John shares one of our favorite stories: his friendship with legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
What’s the one question you need to ask that will propel you, your business and your team to greater heights? Leadership expert and best-selling author Simon Sinek stops by to give the answer, plus he shares lots of additional leadership and business tips. This episode is leadership gold.
What are the top virtues of a great team player? Best-selling author Patrick Lencioni joins us to talk about the three qualities that every awesome team member exhibits and how to identify, hire, and develop ideal team players in any kind of organization. If you are a small-business owner who’s hiring, a leader, or just a someday-in-the-future entrepreneur, this is the episode for you.
Is it possible to keep your company’s culture intact and offer unbelievable customer service—even when your business is growing fast? Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines, believes you can. Even though Southwest employs 50,000 and serve 118 million passengers per year, he and his team prove their commitment to culture every day! The CEO joins us to talk about his company, its culture, why people matter most, hiring, and the legacy of leadership. Also on tap is Dave’s CMO, Jen Sievertsen. Jen stops by to discuss how you can grow your business by creating trusted content. Fasten your seatbelts. This is going to be a super special episode.
Learn how to lead and build an amazing culture from Walt Disney World Resort’s former Executive Vice President of Operations Lee Cockerell. One of Lee’s major and lasting legacies was the creation of Disney Great Leader Strategies, which is used to train and develop the 7,000 leaders at Walt Disney World.
It was hard not to root for the Cubbies during the World Series earlier this month. Down 3-1 in a 7-game series, and then rallying past a worthy opponent to end a 108-year title drought? I’d say it’s a story made for Hollywood, but the ending would seem too far-fetched! But if you were watching, you saw it. The grit. The resilience. The never-give-up attitude that kept those guys going even when the odds were stacked against them. But where does that kind of grit come from? And how can we tap into it for our companies and our lives as business leaders? In this episode Donald Miller sits down with Jon Gordon to talk about it.
StoryBrand Podcast #12: Ben Crane—5 Habits of People Who Win Big (Even Under Pressure)
If we approached our jobs the way professional golfers approach theirs, we’d all be millionaires.
Meet Ben Crane, a PGA Tour golf pro consistently ranked among the world’s best. Behind every stroke, he’s packed countless hours of discipline, planning, intention, and sheer grit. These golf pros are machines, and when the pressure’s on, Ben knows how to deliver. Of course, the five habits Ben employs to excel at golf don’t only work for golfers. They’ll help you bring a stronger mental game to your business, too.
What really drives true success — whether it’s on the ice or in the office? In this episode, Donald Miller talks with Scott Hamilton, Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater and humanitarian. They dig into what it takes to accomplish your biggest goals and beat the competition, plus what will derail you along the way. Apply Scott’s hard-won wisdom, and you can achieve whatever dreams you have for your life or business.
Ken Davis talks to Bill Graybill of Peace Mentors about the importance of communication within your team. In this episode you’ll learn:
- How communication is essential to keep a team healthy
- The most common source of conflict that breaks relationships
- What causes resistance to work towards conflict resolution
Ken Davis and Matt Brady talk about why you should choose your words carefully. In this episode you’ll learn:
- About words in our current culture that are barriers to good communication
- That the misuse of the word “like” can be a major distraction
- That cultural norms are not our measure of good communication