Manage Smarter 255 — Real Teams vs. Performance Groups with James Scouller

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James Scouller is an executive coach, author, and leadership thought leader with over 20 years of experience coaching leaders and their teams. A former CEO, James has released a trilogy of books titled 'How to Build Winning Teams Again and Again,' which he describes as the books he wished he had read 40 years ago. These workbooks are designed to be practical guides, explaining the psychology, action principles, and roadmaps behind team success. The trilogy is divided into three parts: understanding team psychology, addressing psychological issues, and applying effective models for team success.

Scouller emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between genuine teams and performance groups, particularly at the senior management level. He introduces concepts such as the 'dual forces model' to explain the psychological challenges teams face and offers practical advice on forming real teams. Scouller's approach combines deep psychological insights with practical strategies, making his work an invaluable resource for leaders aiming to improve team performance. His books and coaching methods focus on understanding team identity, setting clear goals, and ensuring the right blend of team members to achieve success.

In this podcast for sales managers and executive leadership, Audrey, Lee and James Scouller discuss:

The Difficulty of Building Teams

Building teams, especially at a senior level, is a challenging task due to the complexities of individual personalities, external pressures, and daily variations. Understanding these complexities is crucial for successful team formation.

The Importance of Clear Goals

Teams need to have a clear understanding of their purpose and main goals. Without a clear goal, teams can struggle with decision-​making and commitment, which can lead to decreased performance.

The Role of Conflict in Teams

Conflict is a natural part of any high-​performing team. Avoiding conflict and focusing solely on unanimity can lead to stagnation and decreased performance.

The Concept of Pseudo Teams

Pseudo teams are work groups that aspire to be teams but lack a clear goal and focus on unanimity. This focus on harmony over performance can lead to decreased results and internal frustration.

The Importance of Team Identity

Understanding a team's unique identity, including its strengths and weaknesses, is crucial for its success. Teams that understand their identity can leverage it to their advantage, leading to improved performance.

Bonus Content for Manage Smarter Listeners


"In business, we throw the word team around far too casually."

James Scouller

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