Book & Inventory by Geoffrey Bellman, Kevin Coray & Kathleen Ryan

Extraordinary GroupsExtraordinary Groups

How Ordinary Teams Achieve Amazing Results

Book & Inventory

Related Work

The challenge of enabling people to work together has intrigued leaders and team members for centuries. Beginning in the twentieth century, academics and consultants jumped into the fray. They studied groups, came to conclusions, and promulgated their ideas. We are part of that wave of interest, and by no means the first to put forth our opinions. Look below to see a few more.

Our list not comprehensive, but rather offers an array of thought significantly different from our own. You will find what you need to get to track down the source, plus a short sample of what the author(s) has to say.


Bennis, Warren, Winter/1997. "The Secrets of Great Groups", Leader-to-Leader, No. 3, Winter, 1997.

"Our only chance is to bring people together from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines who can refract a problem through the prism of complementary minds allied in common purpose. I call such collections of talent Great Groups. The genius of Great Groups is that they get remarkable people—strong individual achievers—to work together to get results. But these groups serve a second and equally important function: they provide psychic support and personal fellowship. They help generate courage. Without a sounding board for outrageous ideas, without personal encouragement and perspective when we hit a roadblock, we'd all lose our way."


Block, Peter, 2008. Community: The Structure of Belonging. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

"Block helps us see how we can change the existing context of community from one of deficiencies, interests, and entitlement to one of possibility, interest, and gifts . . . As he explores the nature of community and the dynamics of transformation, Block outlines six kinds of conversation that will create communal accountability and commitment and describes how we can design physical spaces and structures that will themselves foster a sense of belonging."


Briskin, Alan, Erickson, Ott, Callanan, 2009. The Power of Collective Wisdom: and the Trap of Collective Folly. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

"Collective wisdom refers to knowledge and insight gained through group and community interaction. As a deeper level, however, it is about our living connection to each other and the interdependence we share in our neighborhoods, organizations, and work community."


The Collective Wisdom Initiative. A fascinating website for deeper and alternative explorations of group wisdom.

"We believe there exists a field of collective consciousness—often seen and expressed through metaphor—that is real and influential, yet invisible. When we come into alignment with this field, there is a deeper understanding of our connection with others, with life, and with a source of collective wisdom. We are calling into awareness this field of collective consciousness and invite you to join us in building this discipline of collective wisdom, its study and practice."


Cross, Rob and Liedtka, J. and Weiss, L. "A Practical Guide to Social Networks", Harvard Business Review, March, 2005, pp.124-132.

"It's crucial for executives to learn how to promote connectivity only where it benefits an organization or individual and to decrease unnecessary connections. In this article, the authors introduce three types of social networks, each of which delivers unique value."


Godin, Seth, 2008. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. New York: Penguin.

"A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). Its our nature. Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger. But more important, they're enabling countless new tribes to be born. Groups of ten or ten thousand or ten million who care about their iPhones, or a political campaign, or a new way to fight global warming. And so the key question: Who is going to lead us?"


Gratton, Lynda, 2007. Hot Spots: Why Some Teams, Workplaces, and Organizations Buzz with Energy—And Others Don't. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

"Hot Spots . . . are places and times where cooperation flourishes, creating great energy, innovation, productivity, and excitement . . . [The author] has spent more than a decade investigating Hot Spots—examining how, why, and where they emerge, the organizational qualities that are crucial to supporting in supporting their emergence . . . "


Lawrence, Paul, and Nohria, N., 2002. Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

"Two Harvard Business School professors synthesize 200 years of thought along with the latest research drawn from the biological and social sciences to propose a new theory, a unified synthesis of human nature. [They] have studied the way people behave in that most fascinating arena of human behavior-the workplace-and from their work they produce a book that examines the four separate and distinct emotive drives that guide human behavior and influence the choices people make: the drives to acquire, bond, learn, and defend."


Leonard-Barton, Dorothy, and Swap, W.C., 1999. When Sparks Fly: Harnessing the Power of Group Creativity. Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press.

" . . . all aspects of the work environment from leadership style to promotion of passion to the use of space to maximize serendipity, can enhance innovation. Drawing on examples in companies . . . When Sparks Fly shows how sophisticated managers can galvanize groups to maximize their creative potential."


Logan, Dave, King J, and Fischer-Wright H., 2008. Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization. New York: Harper Collins.

"Since the dawn of civilization people have formed tribes, and research demonstrates that humans are genetically programmed to form into groups. Within every company there are tribes, often several, consisting of 20 to 150 people who know each other and work together. But while everyone tribes, the culture of each tribe is different, as is its effectiveness. Improving a tribe's culture—and its chances for greater success—requires a tribal leader who not only understands the tribe but can leverage its collective assets to build a greater team."


Pentland, Edmondson, and Gardner. "The Secrets of Great Teams”, Harvard Business Review, April, 2012, pp. 59-91.

A fine and current collection of three articles about teams (implicitly confirming many of our conclusions) and taking you into realms we've not explored: Sociometric data, team mapping, teaming vs. teams, and teamwork under pressure.