Build an A-Team

Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve

by Whitney Johnson

Number of pages: 208

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

BBB Library: Leadership

ISBN: 978-1633693647

About the Author

Whitney Johnson is a CEO adviser and the author of the critically acclaimed Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work (2015). Previously, she was an award-winning Wall Street analyst and cofounded the Disruptive Innovation Fund with Clayton Christensen. She is a frequent keynote speaker on disruption, is recognized as one of the world's most influential management thinkers by Thinkers50 and Fortune, and hosts the weekly Disrupt Yourself podcast. She is married and has two children.


Editorial Review

What's the secret to having an engaged and productive team? It's having a plan for developing all employees--no matter where they are on their personal learning curves. Better morale and higher performance happen through learning, argues Whitney Johnson. In over twenty years of coaching, investing, and consulting, Johnson has seen that employees need continuous learning and fresh challenges to stay motivated. The best bosses know this, and they know how to make it happen by thoughtfully designing people's jobs around the skills they have today as well as the skills they'll need to be even more valuable tomorrow. In this book, Johnson explains how to become one of those bosses and how to build your A-team.   

Book Reviews

“Backed by more than 20 years of research, consulting and coaching, Whitney Johnson has plenty of hands-on experience working with teams. And her new book Build an A Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve offers a step-by-step process for transforming a group of people into a high-powered and productive team.” - Forbes

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Wisdom to Share

Human beings are wired to learn and change, not to stay in one place, doing the same thing over and over again.

Disruption fosters innovation.

Nearly every human being is on the lookout for growth opportunities. If a person can’t grow with a company, they’ll grow away from it.

People are like asphalt. We can handle a lot of external pressure. If this gives us the strength to persevere, that can be a good thing. If we resist and batten down the hatches when faced with the inevitable, it’s not.

While it’s true that change must come from within, there’s a lot you can do from the outside to help your employees along.

At the low end of a new curve, constraint is almost inevitable.

The best managers give a mix of praise and criticism.

Think of a slingshot: it creates forward impetus with a backward pull. Stepping back is your slingshot.

Failure is the point at which it’s important to encourage an employee to try again and keep trying

Learning from failure isn’t instinctive. But allow it to be instructive, and it can be a big boost to personal disruption.

Pit people against real challenge—and innovation will follow.

Time plus competence equals boredom. Unless new variables are added to the equation, boredom quickly becomes synonyms with low engagement and declining productivity.