An exploration of the importance of teams in human activity.
Drawing from a broadly based foundation in multiple branches of scientific and academic research, as well as technology and business studies, Forbes magazine publisher Karlgaard (The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success, 2014, etc.) and technology writer Malone (The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World's Most Important Company, 2014, etc.) assemble their case for the imperative of cooperative teamwork. Along the way, they debunk traditional ideas of business success as attributable to either of “two antipodes,” the “lone hero and the giant enterprise.” The authors focus on teams and the way technological networking effects compound the continual cheapening of overall cost. In the digital world, people are the limiting boundary to an organization’s ability to adapt to change. Karlgaard and Malone draw from anthropology, ethnography, history, psychology, and evolutionary microbiology to show that, rather than competition, “cooperation may be the default tendency in human beings.” They present research supporting the notion that the evolutionary requirements for clustering demand coordination, communication, and achievement of an optimal size. Teams, they suggest, consistently outperform, and are more likely to come up with new ideas, solitary inventors. Within teams, bringing together people with different perspectives, skills, and experience will tend to improve the performance of the team. As the authors note, “diverse teams need to be actively managed,” and they consider how large-scale enterprises are actually hierarchies of teams. The key to their success often lies in finding the appropriate size, whether pairs, trios, or larger clusters. “The teams in which we work, and the teams we lead, may not change the world,” write the authors. “But they can…make our company…more successful and secure, and give ourselves and our teammates a more rewarding and fulfilling career.”
An intriguing counter to the excesses of both individualism and organizations.