Alan Foster is fired.The confusing part is that he is not fired for bad performance or anything of that kind. Alan is fired for not being a team player.
Although he is an effective producer, Alan is not exactly willing to partner on projects. He is finally fired because the company needs not just performers but performers who are equally good team players. Obviously, this is a bitter pill to swallow!
What begins as a deeply frustrating experience soon turns into an unexpected experience. By chance and due to his unemployment, Alan gets the opportunity to work with a local school hockey team that is about the worst team of their league. Step by step, we learn that a boy's hockey team and a company workplace have many things in common ...
The perspectives include both the boys on the team and the trainers, which makes it a beautiful reading for those who want to become better, more inspiring leaders and managers. Indeed the book successfully outlines the key principles of coaching teams. Managers will learn how to be better leaders, and team mates can learn more about how to find their place in a team, how to make best use of their capabilities. One of these learnings is that it can help to temporarily remove your star performer from the team, so that the remainder of the team can actually find their marks.
The book content is about four key principles:
(1) To be successful, any team needs a shared purpose, values and goals.
(2) Unleashing and developing individual skills will enhance the team's effectiveness.
(3) Integrating all the individual skills properly will create an effective, powerful team.
(4) Individuals need repeated recognition and reward (!) for actions will that enhance team performance.
The book lines up with other "management fables" such as Who Moved My Cheese? and Lundin's Fish. Easy to read yet far from being superficial, virtually everyone will be able to associate with parts of the book.
Successful team management is not black magic: it is mostly about understanding the underlying key principles and then applying them -- rigorously.