Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Amy Edmondson’s Required Reading

strategy+business, September 14, 2016

by Theodore Kinni

Amy C. Edmondson’s abiding interest in teaming may well be rooted in her intriguing stint as chief engineer to the iconoclastic R. Buckminster Fuller in the early 1980s. It was Fuller, after all, who plucked the word synergy from the lexicon of chemistry and expanded its use to include the way in which a holistic approach can help any interactive system — whether a geometric structure or a business — add up to more than the sum of its parts.
After Fuller’s death in 1983, Edmondson served as director of research at Pecos River Learning Centers, a training and development firm, where she designed and implemented transformational change programs for large companies. In 1996, after adding advanced degrees in organizational behavior and psychology to her undergraduate degree in engineering and design (all from Harvard), she joined the faculty at the Harvard Business School; 10 years later, she was named its Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management.
Since then, Edmondson has been teaching, consulting, and writing about the organizational synergies that can be created via teamwork, with a particular focus on the role leaders play in producing them. In Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy(Jossey-Bass, 2012) and Teaming to Innovate (Jossey-Bass, 2013), she explored teamwork in dynamic, unpredictable work environments. Most recently, in Building the Future: Big Teaming for Audacious Innovation(Berrett-Koehler, 2016), Edmondson and coauthor Susan Salter Reynoldsexamined the challenges and opportunities of teaming across sectors through the case of Living PlanIT, a startup that designs operating systems for urban  infrastructure.
When I asked Edmondson about the books that executives should read to become more effective team leaders and to capture the benefits of synergy for their companies, she shared the following three titles. Read the rest here.

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