The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork Workbook: Embrace Them and Empower Your Team by John C. Maxwell | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork Workbook: Embrace Them and Empower Your Team

The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork Workbook: Embrace Them and Empower Your Team

by John C. Maxwell

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The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork has quickly become one of John Maxwell's bestselling books on leadership. Now, in this companion workbook, Dr. Maxwell provides a tool every person can use to adapt the 17 Laws to leadership at home, work, and church.


The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork has quickly become one of John Maxwell's bestselling books on leadership. Now, in this companion workbook, Dr. Maxwell provides a tool every person can use to adapt the 17 Laws to leadership at home, work, and church.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Maxwell continues his grand project of systematizing motivational lore in this fervent workbook. Rehashing the teamwork catechism he explored in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he reminds us of the importance of vision and values, the dangers of egotism, bad apples and malingerers, and the necessity of dedication to collective will. Designed to be used, in part, by employees in a corporate team setting, the workbook features short inspirational or cautionary tales (a vignette about sherpa Tenzing Norgay teaches us that "the need for teamwork elevates" at high altitudes, while disgraced Exxon Valdez captain Joe Hazelwood embodies the proverbial weakest link) followed by vague writing exercises ("How can you become more proactive in your personal growth?"), self-evaluative check-lists ("I am willing to give up my personal rights for the greater good of the team") and "Take Action" assignments ("Confess your error, ask for forgiveness, and make it right.") Maxwell may be the guru of teamwork, but this primer on group-think-with its tone pitched somewhere between a revival meeting and a human resources seminar-feels decidedly less than inspirational. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
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John C. Maxwell's Laws Series
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8.92(w) x 10.92(h) x 0.52(d)

Read an Excerpt


Embrace Them and Empower Your Team

By John C. Maxwell

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2003 Maxwell Motivation, Inc., a Georgia Corporation
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7852-6576-4



One Is Too Small a Number to Achieve Greatness


When you look at the ways people conduct their lives, you can tell pretty quickly who recognizes and embraces the truth of the Law of Significance. This is certainly true of Lilly Tartikoff. I don't know whether Lilly always knew the value of teamwork, but I suspect she learned it early. Lilly was once a professional ballet dancer. If dancers don't work together, their performances never reach the caliber of Lilly's. Beginning at age seven, she spent ten hours a day, six days a week practicing or performing ballet. As a result, she became a member of the New York City Ballet Company from 1971 to 1980.

At a tennis party in Los Angeles in 1980, Lilly met Brandon Tartikoff, the newly named president of entertainment for NBC. At that time he was the youngest network president in history at age thirty. They soon became friends. Then they began to see each other romantically. They were married in 1982. And that started a whole new life for Lilly. She went from a non-television watcher to the spouse of a network executive immersed in the culture of the L.A. entertainment industry. But that adjustment was nothing compared to the other challenge she faced that year. For the second time in his life, Brandon was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease.

On the advice of a physician friend, Brandon went to see a young oncological researcher at UCLA named Dennis Slamon. In August 1982, Dr. Slamon started Brandon on two kinds of treatment, one of which was experimental. Brandon would usually receive treatment on a Friday, and afterward Lilly would drive him home and take care of him while he suffered from horrible side effects all weekend. They did this for a year, and all the while Brandon continued in his role as network president. It was a difficult time for them, but they chose to face the cancer as a team, and in time Brandon recovered.

Out of that ordeal came many things. For one, Brandon's network, NBC, went from worst to first in the ratings. In his autobiography he wrote, "Cancer helps you see things more clearly. The disease, I've found, can actually help you do your job, and there's a very simple reason why: There's nothing like cancer to keep you focused on what's important." That focus enabled him to air some of the most popular and groundbreaking shows in television's history: The Cosby Show, Cheers, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, The Golden Girls, The A-Team, St. Elsewhere, and others.

For Lilly, though, there was a different kind of outcome. Once Hodgkin's disease had been driven from her husband's body, she didn't simply move on.

"Brandon was at the receiving end of some pretty amazing science," she observed. The medical research that had extended Brandon's life intrigued her. So when she had an opportunity to help others benefit from that same science, she couldn't say no. This occurred in 1989 when Dr. Slamon, the UCLA scientist who had treated Brandon seven years earlier, asked Lilly for her help.

For years he had been studying breast cancer, and he believed he was on the verge of developing a radical new treatment that would not only be more effective in treating the disease than anything previously developed, but he could do it without all the usual side effects of chemotherapy. He had the expertise and skill necessary to do the work, but he couldn't do it alone. He needed someone to help with funding. And he thought of Lilly. She was only too happy to help.

The plan she developed showed great insight into teamwork and strategic partnerships. Lilly had once worked as a beauty adviser for Max Factor, formerly connected to Revlon. She sought to get Ronald Perelman, the CEO of Revlon, together with Dr. Slamon. At first that wasn't easy, but once Perelman realized the potential of Slamon's research, he pledged $2.4 million to the scientist's work, with no restrictions. It was a partnership unlike anything that had been done before. What resulted was the creation of the Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Program—and a successful new treatment for cancer that was soon saving women's lives.

For Lilly, cofounding the research program was just a beginning. She had gotten a taste of what teamwork could do, and she was hungry to do much more. She quickly realized that she could enlist others to her cause. She would build a larger team, and she would use her show business connections to do it. That same year she established an annual Fire and Ice Ball in Hollywood to raise money. A few years later, she enlarged her circle and partnered with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) to put together the Revlon Run/Walk, first in Los Angeles and then in New York. So far, those events have raised more than $18 million for cancer research. And in 1996 she helped create the National Women's Cancer Research Alliance.

Sadly, in 1997 Brandon's cancer recurred a third time and took his life. He was only forty-eight years old. Despite the personal setback, Lilly continues to build teams to fight cancer. Recently when she met Katie Couric, who had lost her husband to colon cancer, Lilly was again inspired to action. With the help of Couric and the EIF, in 2000 she formed the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance.

"When I sat down with Katie," said Lilly, "to hear that, with an early diagnosis, you could turn the cancer around—and that literally it's 90 percent curable and preventable ... Well, this was like putting a steak in front of a hungry dog ... I thought, We've got to do this. So I brought in all my partners: the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Dr. Slamon ... And Dr. Slamon brought together an agenda and a mission ... So we created the NCCRA [National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance]. You have no idea how exciting and gratifying it is."

When you look at the incredible, significant task Lilly Tartikoff and her partners are trying to accomplish—taking on cancer—it's clear that it cannot be done by an individual. But that's true of anything worth doing. If it's significant, it takes a team. That's something Lilly realized, put into practice, and now lives by every day. One is too small a number to achieve greatness.


As much as we admire solo achievement, the truth is that no lone individual has done anything of significant value. The belief that one person can do something great is a myth. Even the Lone Ranger wasn't really a loner. Everywhere he went, he rode with Tonto! For the person trying to do everything alone, the game really is over. If you want to do something big, you must do what Dr. Slamon and Lilly Tartikoff did and partner with others.

1. What teams had Lilly already been a part of prior to her partnership with Dr. Slamon? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

2. Why did Dr. Slamon invite Lilly to become part of his team? What value did she bring to the team? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

3. Why is Revlon a strategic partner for breast cancer research?

___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

4. How would Dr. Slamon's progress be affected if his team did not have a corporate sponsor? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

5. In your industry or area of service, what group or organization is the model for the Law of Significance? How are they setting an example for successful teamwork? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________


A Chinese proverb states that "behind an able man there are always other able men." The truth is that teamwork is at the heart of all great achievement. The question isn't whether teams have value. The question is whether we acknowledge that fact and become better team players. That's why I assert that one is too small a number to achieve greatness. You cannot do anything of real value alone.

I challenge you to think of one act of genuine significance in the history of humankind that was performed by a lone human being. No matter what you name, you will find that a team of people was involved. That is why President Lyndon Johnson said, "There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves."

C. Gene Wilkes, in his book Jesus on Leadership, observed that the power of teams is not only evident in today's modern business world. It has a deep history, which is illustrated in Scripture. He explains that

• Teams involve more people, thus affording more resources, ideas, and energy than would an individual.

• Teams maximize a leader's potential and minimize her weaknesses. Strengths and weaknesses are more exposed in individuals.

• Teams provide multiple perspectives on how to meet a need or reach a goal, thus devising several alternatives for each situation. Individual insight is seldom as broad and deep as a group's when it takes on a problem.

• Teams share the credit for victories and the blame for losses. This fosters genuine humility and authentic community. Individuals take credit and blame alone. This fosters pride and sometimes a sense of failure.

• Teams keep leaders accountable for the goal. Individuals connected to no one can change the goal without accountability.

• Teams can simply do more than an individual.

If you want to reach your potential or strive for the seemingly impossible—such as communicating your message two thousand years after you are gone—you need to become a team player. It may be a cliché, but it is nonetheless true: Individuals play the game, but teams win championships.

Why Do We Stand Alone?

Knowing all that we do about the potential of teams, why do some people still want to do things by themselves? I believe there are a number of reasons:

1. Ego

Few people are fond of admitting that they can't do everything, yet that is a reality of life. There are no supermen or superwomen. So the question is not whether you can do everything yourself; it's how soon you're going to realize that you can't.

Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie remarked, "It marks a big step in your development when you come to realize that other people can help you do a better job than you could do alone." If you want to do something really big, then let go of your ego, and get ready to be part of a team.

2. Insecurity

In my work with leaders, I've found that one of the reasons many individuals fail to promote teamwork is that they feel threatened by other people. Sixteenth-century Florentine statesman Niccolò Machiavelli probably made similar observations, which prompted him to write, "The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him."

I believe that insecurity, rather than poor judgment or lack of intelligence, most often causes leaders to surround themselves with weak people. As I stated in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, only secure leaders give power to others. That is the Law of Empowerment. On the other hand, insecure leaders usually fail to build teams. This is usually due to one of two reasons:

• They want to maintain control over everything for which they are responsible, or

• They fear being replaced by someone more capable.

In either case, leaders who fail to promote teamwork undermine their own potential and erode the best efforts of the people with whom they work. They would benefit from the advice of President Woodrow Wilson: "We should not only use all the brains we have, but all that we can borrow."

3. Naïveté

John Ghegan, president of U.S. Business Advisors, keeps a sign on his desk that says, "If I had it to do all over again, I'd get help." That remark accurately represents the feelings of the third type of people who fail to become team builders. They naively underestimate the difficulty of achieving big things. As a result, they try to go it alone. Some people who start out in this group turn out okay in the end. When they discover that their dreams are bigger than their capabilities, they realize they won't accomplish their goals solo and they adjust. They make team building their approach to achievement. But some others learn the truth too late, and as a result never accomplish their goals. And that's a shame.

4. Temperament

Finally, some people aren't very outgoing and simply don't think in terms of team building and team participation. As they face challenges, it never occurs to them to enlist others to achieve their goal.

As a people person, I find this hard to relate to. Whenever I face any kind of challenge, the very first thing I do is think about who I want on the team to help. I've been that way since I was a kid. I've always thought, Why take the journey alone when you can invite others along?

I understand that not everyone operates this way. But whether or not you are naturally inclined to be part of a team is really irrelevant. If you do everything alone and never partner with other people, you create huge barriers to your own potential. Author and psychologist Dr. Allan Fromme quipped, "People have been known to achieve more as a result of working with others than against them." What an understatement! It takes a team to do anything of lasting value. Besides, even the most introverted person in the world can learn to enjoy the benefits of being on a team. And that's true even if he or she isn't trying to accomplish something great.


Rate your own teamwork abilities by placing the number 1, 2, or 3 next to each of the following statements:

1 = Never 2 = Sometimes 3 = Always

_______ 1. I enjoy being on a team.

_______ 2. I see the value that different individuals bring to the team.

_______ 3. Once I have a large goal in mind, I start to consider the people I will need to partner with to see that goal realized.

_______ 4. When I am faced with a challenge, I ask for the advice of others.

_______ 5. I consider my family to be a team.

_______ 6. I consider those with whom I work to be members of a team, and I treat them as allies.

_______ 7. I am at my best when working with others.

_______ 8. I am willing to share the credit or victory with others.

_______ 9. I realize that there are things I cannot accomplish on my own.

_______ 10. My dreams and goals require a team.

_______ Total

24 – 30 This is an area of strength. Continue growing, but also spend time helping others to develop in this area.

16 – 23 This area may not be hurting you, but it isn't helping you much either. To strengthen your teamwork ability, develop yourself in this area.

10 – 15 This is an area of weakness in your teamwork. Until you grow in this area, your team effectiveness will be negatively impacted.


Excerpted from THE 17 INDISPUTABLE LAWS OF TEAMWORK WORKBOOK by John C. Maxwell. Copyright © 2003 Maxwell Motivation, Inc., a Georgia Corporation. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

John C. Maxwell, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach and speaker, was identified as the #1 leader in business by the AMA and the world’s most influential leadership expert by Inc. in 2014.His organizations—The John Maxwell Company, The John Maxwell Team, and EQUIP—have trained over 6 million leaders in every nation. Visit for more information.

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