High Five!: The Magic of Working Together

High Five!: The Magic of Working Together

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by Ken Blanchard, Eunice Parisi-Carew, Sheldon Bowles, Donald Carew

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High Five! combines the spellbinding charm of a timeless parable with cutting-edge information about why teams are important and what individuals and organizations can do to build successful ones.

Through the story of Alan Foster, a workplace one-man band, High Five! identifies the four key ingredients of winning teams. Although Alan is an

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High Five! combines the spellbinding charm of a timeless parable with cutting-edge information about why teams are important and what individuals and organizations can do to build successful ones.

Through the story of Alan Foster, a workplace one-man band, High Five! identifies the four key ingredients of winning teams. Although Alan is an effective producer, he is unwilling to share the spotlight by partnering on projects and is fired because, as his boss puts it, "Alan, we need good producers who are good team players, too." It is a bitter pill for him to swallow.

While mulling over his disappointment, he takes his son to his grade-five hockey practice, where it is clear that his son's team, the Riverbend Warriors, knows nothing about teamwork, either. When the team's two overworked coaches learn of Alan's plight, they persuade him to join their ranks, and he finds himself charged with teaching himself and the players the meaning of teamwork. With the help of a woman friend-a former girls' basketball coach who has "won more high school basketball championships than anyone"-Alan and the Warriors learn the magic of teamwork and that "none of us is as smart as all of us."

With its simple style and easy-to-follow techniques, High Five! is a must-read for anyone seeking to learn the value and power of teamwork.

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Editorial Reviews

Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles -- the bestselling authors of Raving Fans and Gung Ho! -- return with a timely parable about the importance of teamwork. By drawing analogies between team building in the workplace and on the playing field, the authors make their points in an accessible and friendly manner that will appeal to the many readers who enjoyed their earlier books.
Library Journal
Two best-selling business authors on teamwork. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.81(d)

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Chapter 1

Loud, constant cheers and the crack of wooden hockey sticks frantically trying to get the puck rang out in the frigid air and bounced back from the arena's concrete walls and the wooden stands where parents were stamping their feet to keep warm.

On the ice there was a mad scramble behind the home net as the clock hit zero, the horn sounded, and the game ended. The spectators quickly exited to the heated canteen while the players headed for the dressing rooms.

When it came to energy, drive, and enthusiasm, the grade-five boys hockey team at Riverbend Elementary School was truly remarkable. Every single player was destined for NHL stardom.

At least that's what they believed. If unflinching belief in one's own ability and a can-do attitude were the magic key to success, the Riverbend Warriors would have been at the top of their league.

Unfortunately, in reality, they had lost most of their games. When they won, it usually meant the opposing team was playing even worse hockey. And this Saturday, Riverbend had lost again.

As Alan Foster watched his son, David, and his teammates go down to yet another humiliating loss, he marveled at how little the boys seemed aware of their own shortcomings. Skating off the ice they were defiant in defeat. A bad referee, bad ice, bad breaks, and even bad skate sharpening were among the culprits being named. No one was accepting responsibility, individually or collectively, for the loss.

"Another great night of grade-five hockey," said Alan to Coach Milt Gorman while David, down in the locker room, changed to street clothes.

"I've always dreamed of a great team. Instead, once again we got our heads handed to us," replied Milt with a warm laugh.

"You and Coach Nanton really are wonderful the way you give so much time to this," said Alan.

"Gives me a chance to spend time with my son' and besides, I love the game," said Coach Gorman as he stepped out of the player's box on his way to the locker room. "Some days, though, I do wish I didn't have a team with half of the boys frightened to go after the puck and the other half hogging the puck the second they get their stick on it."

The reference to puck hogs rattled Alan, but not as much as Coach Gorman's next words: "David told my Billy that you got cut loose at work.

"That's right," replied Alan with more brusqueness than he intended.

"Sorry to hear that," said Milt as he swung several spare hockey sticks up on his shoulder. "Bad luck."

"No," Alan heard himself saying emphatically,not bad luck. The last four or five years the company has been changing. I didn't. The result was I didn't fit anymore. It wasn't bad luck or even a bad ref or bad ice. It was my fault."

"Jeez," said Milt. "If our kids had half the guts and gumption you've got to take personal responsibility for what happens, they might really be on their way to the NHL."

"To tell the truth, this is the first time I've admitted it to myself or anyone else," said Alan. "I guess listening to those kids leaving the ice with all their misplaced grumbling was a wake-up call."

Alan's admission was also right in line with his one-man-band philosophy. He believed he had only himself to count on, so no one else could take the blame. It also provided a way to avoid facing the real problem. He had accepted responsibility. What more could he do? Case closed. No need to look deeper or further.

Of course, Milt wasn't aware of this. He was thinking about something entirely different.

"Well, here's the thing," said Milt. "I really didn't mean to embarrass you."

"No problem," said Alan.

"Nice of you to say. But what I was trying to get at is that Gus Nanton and I could really use help with these kids. I know from David that work used to keep you busy most evenings and weekends, but I was hoping you might have the time now to give us a hand."

"Me teach hockey? I haven't skated in years. I'm not even sure I remember the rules," said Alan.

"I know the rules. Coach Nanton skates beautifully. Besides, as coaches we have only one job and that's to get these kids working as a team, teaching them that everyone, working together, will accomplish more than each of them giving 100 percent individually. That's where we could use some help. If these kids learn the magic of teamwork, we'll have given them a greater gift than all the skating practice and rule drill ever could."

The arena, which minutes before had reverberated with the clash of sticks and cheers, was now deserted except for Alan and Milt.

"Okay," said Alan, taking a deep breath. "Second honest confession of the night. The change I got fired over? Teamwork. I got fired even though I was one of their best producers because I wasn't a team player. I'd hardly be the one to teach teamwork."

Milt cocked his head to the side as if to better consider what Alan had said. Then, shifting the weight of the hockey sticks on his shoulder, he replied: "That company may not want you, but I do. I think you'll be perfect. You don't have to sing like Pavarotti to teach singing."

Actually, Milt wasn't really concerned with perfection or even being average. He just needed another parent to share the load.

Sensing interest, Milt continued: "My wife and I sell bottled water from our store for a living. Gus Nanton is a graphic designer-on his own, works out of his basement office. We know nothing about teamwork..

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Meet the Author

Ken Blanchard, PhD, is one of the most influential leadership experts in the world. He has co-authored 60 books, including Raving Fans and Gung Ho! (with Sheldon Bowles). His groundbreaking works have been translated into over 40 languages and their combined sales total more than 21 million copies. In 2005 he was inducted into Amazon's Hall of Fame as one of the top 25 bestselling authors of all time. The recipient of numerous leadership awards and honors, he is cofounder with his wife, Margie, of The Ken Blanchard Companies®, a leading international training and consulting firm.

Sheldon Bowles lives in Winnipeg, Canada, and is president of Ode to Joy Limited, chairman of Precision Metalcraft Inc., and an associate of the Exchange Group. A noted speaker, author, and businessperson, he serves on several boards and is currently busy with new projects: a chain of full-service car washes and three forthcoming books, High Five!, Kingdomality, and Road to Riches, all coauthored with Ken Blanchard.

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