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SHARING THE SANDBOX


By: 
Date: May 1 2012

TEAM BUILDING IN THE 21st CENTURY – A NEW DYNAMIC

In SHARING THE SANDBOX, Communications Expert And World Class Athlete Dean Brenner Reveals Secrets To Building Great Teams Despite Upheavals of Technology, Globalization, And The Latest Employment Trends

The business world’s reliance on teams is constant.  Whether it’s project teams, cross-functional teams, virtual teams, global teams, or boards, people are regularly being judged by their ability to participate or run them.  Yet the realities of the 21st century have made it harder than ever to be an effective team leader or teammate.  In SHARING THE SANDBOX: Building and Leading World-Class Teams in the 21st Century (AG Books, June 2012), communications expert, world-class athlete, and CEO of the Latimer Group (www.thelatimergroup.com), Dean Brenner provides a roadmap for creating winning teams that consistently reach their goals.  This is a book for anyone who wants to spearhead successful projects, enhance his/her career, or achieve an objective that needs the energy and participation of a group of people.

Brenner, a renowned business consultant who works with Fortune 100 organizations around the world, is also the Chairman of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program, responsible for leading athletes and coaches preparing for the 2012 Summer Games.  A world-class sailor himself, Brenner served as Olympic Sailing Team Leader at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.                                                     

In SHARING THE SANDBOX, he explains that being a good team leader or teammate is about three things – the ability to contribute to the performance of the team; the ability to observe and meet the interests and needs of the other team members; and the ability to put the needs of others before your own.

Yet creating great teams is trickier than ever.  Now that the Internet has given people nearly unlimited access to information and the ability to share it, everyone thinks that he or she is an expert.  Thus trying to obtain group consensus can be particularly difficult.  Moreover, people change jobs and industries faster than in the past.  This means that teams are composed of people with many different business and life experiences, perspectives and sensibilities.  And finally, teams are often global, virtual, and more remote than ever before.  Leaders and teammates need to learn how to work with people they may never meet face-to-face who come from cultures and backgrounds far different from their own.  

“A team is a collection of individuals.  Each person is unique, and so it follows that each team will be unique,” says Brenner.  “This is a key concept in the 21st century, because as people become more informed, more connected, and more opinionated, each group situation becomes more complicated.”

In SHARING THE SANDBOX, Brenner says the solution to effective teamwork is Alignment.  Strong, functional teams are aligned.  Everyone is working towards a common goal.  Brenner’s acronym ARROW best describes this:

Alignment = Roles and responsibilities – Clarity for team members on their roles and responsibilities ensures that no ones wastes time duplicating efforts or leaving other areas of the project untended.  Without this clarity, team members may also step on each other’s toes, which usually creates tension.

Respect – An aligned team respects members’ roles and responsibilities, confidences, and the process of decision making.

Ownership – It’s important for team members to care about the outcome of their efforts and care about doing whatever they can to contribute.  Members must do more than just take orders and stand around waiting to be told what to do.  They must contribute to the planning and want to add value.

Willingness to Work – On an aligned team, everyone actively contributes to the bottom line. Everyone is willing to roll up his or her sleeves and actually do the hard work to generate a positive outcome.

In addition to ARROW, Brenner explains how to build teams from the ground up as well as how to work with teams that already exist.  He discusses the various personality types that can exist within a team and shows how to manage them.  He also analyzes the most common issues that contribute to team failure, revealing what to do about them.  “Good teams don’t waste any competitive energy focused inwardly at others on the team.  Bad teams do.  Good teams are aligned, have ownership, good communication, good leadership, trust, and respect,” explains Brenner.

Entrepreneur, accomplished executive coach, and Olympic Team leader, Brenner is uniquely qualified to write about team dynamics in the 21st century.  As Olympic Gold Medalist and world champion sailor Anna Tunnicliffe says, “Dean Brenner knows teams and team building as well as anyone I know. He has a way of giving valuable advice that is easy to understand and execute.  Dean’s concepts and approach have helped me become a better teammate and leader.  SHARING THE SANDBOX is a great tool for all of us, on and off the water.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dean M. Brenner
is the President of The Latimer Group.  He is an accomplished executive coach, public speaker, and an Olympic-caliber athlete.  Brenner has won seven national sailing championships and five international sailing championships and this summer will lead his second US Sailing Team at the Olympic Games.  In addition to SHARING THE SANDBOX (www.sharingthesandbox.com), Brenner is the author of Move the World: Persuade Your Audience, Change Minds and Achieve Your Goals.  He earned an MBA in Finance from The Olin School of Business at Babson College, an MA in Shakespearian Literature from The University of Warwick, England, and his BA in English Literature and Government from Georgetown University.  He lives in Wallingford, CT.



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