There’s a lot of good stuff in Great Teams – 16 Things High Performing Organizations Do Differently by Don Yeager. It’s one I recommend.

Many management type books use sports to project concepts into the business realm. They rely heavily on the sport side of things, with a few “this is how it relates to business” insertions along the way. Wooden on Leadership is an example of this style.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, especially for us as coaches. It can limit the scope a bit, though.

Yeager doesn’t go this route. Instead, he takes a pretty balanced approach. His lessons and examples come from both sports and business in about equal measure. Obviously, hearing useful insights from the sports side is good for us. I think, though, that the addition of the business perspective brings some added value. At least it did for me.

As the title suggests, the book comprises 16 primary chapters. They fall into four “Pillar” sections – Purpose, Management, Efficiency, and Mutual Direction. Each chapter has a fairly standard structure. The author introduces the topic, such as “Win in Critical Situations”. From there, ideas and examples of it are presented first from a sports perspective, then from a business one. Each chapter ends with a comprehensive summary.

After the last chapter is a long appendix featuring brief insights from the people mentioned throughout the book. It’s a lot of them! That makes interesting reading all by itself.

All together, the book runs 250 pages. I read it in chunks here and there over the course of several weeks. That’s very doable if you don’t have big blocks of reading time. It strikes me as something that would be a quite good audiobook if that’s your preference. Either way, I strongly recommend checking it out.

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John Forman
John Forman

John most recently coached for an NCAA Division II women's team. That followed a stint as head coach for a women's professional team in Sweden. Prior to that he was the head coach for the University of Exeter Volleyball Club BUCS teams (roughly the UK version of the NCAA) while working toward a PhD. He previously coached in Division I of NCAA Women's Volleyball in the US, with additional experience at the Juniors club level, both coaching and managing, among numerous other volleyball adventures. Learn more on his bio page.

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