Winning Ways: 4 Secrets for Getting Great Results by Working Well with People


In the bestselling tradition of Who Moved My Cheese? and The One Minute Manager, this smart little book, written as a business parable, tells the story of a young man who is sent from the corporate ladder to the football field to learn a lesson in team playing from one person who knows how to win - a college football coach.

"The best guidelines I've seen to help you unleash ...
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In the bestselling tradition of Who Moved My Cheese? and The One Minute Manager, this smart little book, written as a business parable, tells the story of a young man who is sent from the corporate ladder to the football field to learn a lesson in team playing from one person who knows how to win - a college football coach.

"The best guidelines I've seen to help you unleash your power and reach your maximum potential." (Ken Blanchard, bestselling author of The One Minute Manager)

"You can't be a star player on your team if you don't have winning ways. This smart, sensible book shows how to develop them. (Tom Muccio, Vice-President, Proctor & Gamble)

"The best book ever written about how to work well with others. All new employees should receive a copy the first day on the job. (Art Bauer, President and CEO, American Media, Inc.)

Author Biography: Dick Lyles, Ph.D., is President and Chief Operating Officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies. He has been an active speaker and management consultant with an international clientele for more than twenty years. His clients have included numerous Fortune 500 companies, among them Exxon and Hughes Aircraft, as well as government agencies at all levels around the world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399146060
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/7/2000
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 13.83 (w) x 21.56 (h) x 1.59 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Albert was livid. Absolutely livid.

"How could they?" he said to himself. "How could they ask me, how could they ask anyone with any intelligence whatsoever, to put up with this kind of treatment?"

The young man was seething as he slammed into his chair and assaulted his computer. If the mouse had been a live one, it surely would have suffered whiplash from Albert's jerking as he whipped it back and forth across the mouse pad to disengage his computer's screen saver and cause the menu display to pop onto the screen.

Albert quickly scrolled the cursor to his Internet browser icon and double clicked. He tapped his right heel up and down and glared off into the opposite side of his office cubicle, fuming as he waited for the computer to bring up his designated home page.

His anger slowly gave way to fear and a deep, gut-wrenching anxiety as he continued to reflect on what had just happened. His stomach began to tie up in knots as he realized that his second experience in working with groups had quickly become worse than his first.

The first "Tiger Team" they had assigned him to had been bad enough. But fortunately-both for Albert and the other team members-the assignment had been a short one. The work was for the most part completed by the time Albert joined the group. Albert's contribution wasn't critical to the outcome, but was important to the project's overall success. The good news was that although Albert's piece was indeed challenging, it didn't require too much collaboration with the others on the team.

From the beginning Albert felt that the other Tiger Team members weren't very friendly. They were congenial to each other, but never really warmed up to him. Even more important, though, he felt they didn't show enough respect for his intellect or his ideas. Deep down inside he knew he was smarter than all but one, and he could certainly hold his own with her. Worse yet, they were almost arrogant about the work they had already accomplished, even though Albert was confident he could have done a better job.

However, strained feelings and underlying tensions aside, the team and Albert finished the project before anyone's emotions festered to the boiling point. Albert went back to his own work, relieved the project was over. He was thankful he could work alone without having to worry about all the hassles, frustrations, and endless, time-consuming delays of dealing with a bunch of groupies who were more interested in what everybody else was doing than they were in getting the job done.

Then came this second Tiger Team.

Even the term Tiger Team rubbed him the wrong way. What was it supposed to mean? Albert suspected it was just a form of manipulation to get people to think they were special if they did something with a bunch of other people.

Well, Albert didn't feel special. In fact, working in a group just gave him a headache.

Why couldn't they just tell people what was needed, divvy up the work, and then let them go do it?

No, that'd be too easy, he reflected.

Albert's frustration with this second team had set in early. The team had started off in what Albert considered to be the wrong direction. He thought they were trying to satisfy too many people with the design, thereby making the finished product much too complicated.

When they told him they had to follow that approach because it was specifically spelled out in the team's charter, he clammed up. Have it your way,<$> he thought smugly to himself. You'll see.

The next uncomfortable moment was triggered in the team's second meeting when Albert told the team leader his name was "Albert-not Al. Two syllables, not one." He momentarily felt a little guilty that the team leader had been embarrassed when Albert corrected him in front of everyone. But only a little guilty. He thought it insulting that the guy couldn't even refer to him by his correct name.

And now this.

Each of the team members had agreed to complete an assignment during the three-week time period between the second and third meeting. Then they would get back together at the third meeting and piece things together to lay the foundation for the rest of the project.

After starting his work according to the criteria that the group had agreed upon, Albert came up with a better idea. He refocused his efforts and put all his energy into developing this new idea. For the past two weeks, he worked day and night, and even gave up both weekends. With the exception of a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday when he played Frisbee with his pet Australian shepherd, Digger, he worked nonstop. He was eager for everyone to see how much better his plan was.

He prepared a presentation to deliver to the group at the beginning of the third meeting. He even titled it "A Better Way," so they would get the point quickly and not waste any more time following the mediocre direction they had originally-and by Albert's judgment, mistakenly-taken. He even rehearsed the presentation a few times in front of Digger, who enthusiastically barked his approval.

Albert had stayed up all night working to fine-tune his speech and was in the office early that morning, eager to present his ideas to the other team members.

Then came the meeting.

As soon as the group had exchanged their usual pleasantries, Richard, the project leader, outlined his agenda. Albert interrupted to ask if he could take a few moments to address the group before they started work on the agenda. He assured them they'd be pleasantly surprised and would consider it time well spent.

The group consented.

Albert proceeded to outline his ideas and the plan he had spent the past two weeks perfecting.

To say the presentation didn't go well would be a considerable understatement.

As soon as he started to explain how his idea was superior to the one the group conceived, the team members began to withdraw. Some folded their arms. Faces turned serious; some were even grim. The overall reaction was decidedly negative.

When team members started questioning the reasons for some of Albert's suggestions, Albert became defensive and pushed even harder to convince the group that his way was a better way. He raised his voice, impatient to get his point across, but the louder he spoke, the louder the dissenting team members protested. The meeting quickly became a classic power struggle.

And Albert lost. Big time.

He not only lost the argument, but he lost his cool.

Albert's composure was annihilated as he stormed out of the conference room in a huff-an angry, contemptuous huff-that left a wake of ruffled emotions and unresolved conflict.

So now here he was. Mindlessly surfing through cyberspace, contemplating his situation, and wondering why some people were so hard to get along with.

Albert longed for a return to the days when he was in college. Albert had graduated cum laude from the University of Northeastern Michigan (UNM) with a bachelor of science degree in computer engineering. He graduated in three years instead of the usual four or five like most students these days. Albert would have been the valedictorian the year he graduated had it not been for his less-than-stellar grades in his humanities classes. In the classes he really liked-those that focused on computers, math, and science-the college classroom environment served him well. He studied hard, went to class, locked into each professor's delivery, and filed away everything he learned in his computer-like brain. Albert could memorize formulas, equations, and programs, and could always come up with the right answers. He would do his work, study hard, and was solely responsible for his academic success.

At graduation time Albert was recruited heavily and was quickly hired by United Global Advance Technologies, better known as UGAT. UGAT is a Chicago-based high technology company with worldwide operations. He settled in quickly and rapidly gained notoriety as the company's brightest rising star.

Ten months later he was assigned to his first Tiger Team. The team was brought on board to help complete the company's hottest and most important project.

Albert felt his contribution was minor because he was put on the project so late in the game, but because he crossed the finish line with the group, he was included in the recognition for the project's success. In fact, he even received special recognition for getting up to speed so quickly and helping out at the last minute.

That's why Albert's department head, Megan Godwine, had assigned Albert to be on this current project from the beginning. It was a terrific opportunity-one that would have normally been reserved for a more senior and experienced person. But Albert had established himself with his work on the first team and Megan felt this second team would be a great chance for him to proceed on the fast track. Megan seemed to genuinely want to see Albert succeed. She was the person who recruited him and urged him to come on board at UGAT. She was also a graduate of UNM and in fact had first learned about Albert through her old professors. As a department head, she was constantly on the lookout for top talent, and the professors knew it. They enthusiastically recommended Albert to her and Megan immediately recognized his potential. Now she offered him what she thought to be the opportunity of a lifetime and he wanted out.

What should I say when I meet with her in the morning? Albert asked himself. He and Megan had an appointment scheduled for 8:00 a.m. so he could debrief her on the project and how it was going.

Until now he had been looking forward to the meeting, confident he'd be able to tell her all about how he had reshaped the project direction and really made a difference. But now all he could think about was how to tell her he wanted a different assignment.

He couldn't work with these people. Not now. Not after they had completely humiliated him by rejecting his ideas without even so much as a hint of reasonable consideration. Why couldn't they just put their egos aside and listen, even just a little? Most of them had stopped listening in the first three minutes! There's no way she could expect him to take that. It was a sign of disrespect and an indication that they didn't want to work with him.

Maybe it's because I'm still one of the new people around here, he thought. But it's wrong for them to treat me that way, even if I am new. Besides, don't they get it? It's the ideas that matter, not me. I'll bet if any one of them had the same idea, they'd think it was great. They're just intimidated by someone my age being so far ahead of them. They're trying to teach me a lesson, make me pay my dues.

Well, they can have their lesson, he thought. Tomorrow when I meet with Megan, maybe I should just tell her to tell them that they can take that attitude and my job on this Tiger Team and shove it.

One thing he was certain of was that he was not going to let Megan think any of this was his fault. Even though he suspected that the knot in his stomach was at least partly caused by the knowledge that in some way he had provoked the team's reactions, he didn't want to admit that to Megan.

No, he thought. In as polite and respectful a manner as possible, I'll just ask her to take me off the team. Maybe there's another team with different people she can assign me to. But what I'd really like to do is work alone.

Reprinted from Winning Ways by Dick Lyles by permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by Dick Lyles. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
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Interviews & Essays

Exclusive Author Essay

Winning Traits for Today's Workplace

by Dick Lyles

As we race further into the knowledge age, two major changes are affecting organizations throughout the world. First is that organizations are becoming flatter and more networked. Second is that the hierarchies of authority are becoming increasingly more invisible. The type of networking that is occurring in organizations is one step beyond mere computer networking for the transfer of information. Rather, it is the networking of human energy, combining in synergistic ways across a myriad of different relationships, to produce economic results. More and more, the results that are produced by organizations are a by-product of personal influence rather than positional power. The authoritarian hierarchies that served us well in the industrial era are inadequate to meet our needs today. Thus the leadership and influence styles that served us well when operating under those structures are also becoming the tools and approaches of a bygone era.

Members of today's workforce are generally well equipped to communicate effectively in an information-networked world using the computers they grew up with. The difficult part comes when those individuals must use the same information to drive results in organizations via people-driven processes. This is especially difficult in organizations where those processes require productive interaction with large numbers of individuals and groups of people in a wide variety of contexts. In these types of settings, hierarchical or position power has almost no value in driving everyday results. Personalpower is everything. But it must be positive personal power. It must be the kind of power that not only drives results, but also provides a solid foundation for long-term, productive human relationships.

My primary purpose in writing Winning Ways was to offer people simple strategies to overcome this difficult process—strategies that would empower them to be able to work effectively with others today and in the future. But they are also strategies that can be applied in the absence of formal authority. Because of my role as president and chief operating officer for the Ken Blanchard Companies, I am reminded daily of these changing organizational and personal needs. The clients for whom we provide consulting and training services are some of the largest, best, and most successful companies in the world. All of them are experiencing the changes I've described above.

The four secrets in Winning Ways are actually four strategies that emerged from my extensive work as an organizational consultant, a problem-solving consultant, and a top executive in numerous companies. These secrets have been learned theoretically, and have proven themselves to me through my real-world experiences, both personal and professional.

I think you'll enjoy and appreciate the book's lively and vibrant parable format. Not only does it provide you with a good, enjoyable story line, but the parable will also enable you to remember the messages longer and apply them more effectively.

My fervent hope is that the strategies in Winning Ways will bring as much fulfillment and success to the book's readers as they have brought to me during my career. Winning-best wishes to you all.

—Dick Lyles

Dick Lyles, Ph.D., is president and chief operating officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies. He has been an active speaker and management consultant with an international clientele for more than 20 years. His clients have included numerous Fortune 500 companies, among them Exxon and Hughes Aircraft, as well as government agencies at all levels around the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2000

    This One's a Winner

    Normally, I bypass these types of 'business' books. They usually offer minimal content that is better suited for a short article in a popular magazine. Certainly not worth more than a couple of bucks. But I am glad I 'caved' into a friend who told me about Winning Ways. It is the rare exception in an otherwise overrated genre of superficial, flavor of the month, 'must-buy' business texts. Winning Ways deftly and vividly explains four secrets to getting along effectively with others so that the individual and the organization win. It has lessons that go far beyond business--to life in general. How to make the most of life period. Sure, respecting others, building others' self esteem, collaborating, and focusing on results for the future are all things we've heard before. But, this story brings them to life--quickly and in a very entertaining way. It has helped me to refocus and change my attitiude. The beauty of this book is that everyone can apply its simple concepts immediately and get remarkable results. The headaches it has prevented and the stress it has eliminated have helped me look forward to working with my boss and team. Count me in the 20% of the workforce who actually likes his job--now. I haven't felt this alive at work in years. I feel like a winner. It was worth the one hour I invested in reading it. If you only read one book this year, give this one strong consideration.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2000

    A 'MUST READ' for All Managers and Leaders

    This is an exceptional book! How I wish I'd had it in my pocket when I entered the Navy as an ensign. Albert reminds me of naval officers I have known (myself included) who struggled, as does Albert, with building effective teams and being a team player. This book, with its simple but profound concepts, should be required reading (and using) by all military leaders, officer and enlisted, as well as by civilian managers. 'Winning Ways' is well written, easy (and fun) to read, and the concepts are presented so artfully that the 'aha's' lead to 'wow's'. I think this book should be introduced into the leadership curriculums of the military academies, NCO and Petty Officer leaders

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2000

    A Winner

    What a gem! Winning Ways will appeal to seniors and juniors alike. By weaving lessons into a story Dick Lyles has been able to teach important concepts painlessly. This is a winner, and I have ordered copies for leaders and those who will become leaders in the future. I highly recommend Winning Ways.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2000

    Destined to be an All Time Classic

    Once in a great, great while does a book have such special magic and ring so true, that it is destined to be a classic. Although this charming and informing parable is about a character named Albert who has trouble getting along with others, anyone who reads it with an open and reflective mind will find at something in it for themselves. And what they will find will help them to be more charismatic, more influential in a very positive way, and much more powerful in their dealings with others. This is just a great, great, book that made me look up and just say, 'right on' after I read it. Then two things happened. I immediately started reading it again, and I quickly thought of three other people with whom I wanted to share this incredible wisdom.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2000


    As a management consultant, trainer, and psychotherapist for almost three decades I always love to find things that are simple and work.I think that Dick Lyles has come up with a home run. Storytelling has long been the way children and grown-ups learn best. Few books give the tools to change that are as equally relevant to kids as they are to grown ups. This book will help to transform all into effective winners. SPORTS STARS: 'BUY THIS BOOK AND GIFT THEM TO TEAMS OF YOUNGSTERS GIVING THEM A LEG UP ON EFFECTIVE WAYS TO MAKE A TEAM WORK.' PARENTS: LEARN THE SECRETS WELL ENOUGH TO MODEL THEM FOR YOUR KIDS. FOR ALL THE REST OF YOU ENJOY THIS WONDERFUL BOOK. Cathy Conheim psychotherapist, San Diego CA

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Winning self help book

    The brilliant Albert graduated early from the University of Michigan. United Global Advance Technologies quickly hires the genius. However, though his mind may match is namesake, his personality leaves much to be desired. Albert is very efficient, but is ineffective as he fails to work well with peers or in a group because he feels intellectually superior and rejects the notion that others might have excellent ideas. Instead he runs over his colleagues who resent his narrow focus that often times ignores part of the process. <P>Albert¿s boss knows that her superstar is not achieving what he is capable of doing because of his anti-social behavior. Albert needs to be more than just the lone ranger. He needs to be a team player and ultimately leader who appreciates diversity and varying opinions to attain a win-win environment. His boss sends Albert back to his alma mater to spend time with the highly regarded football team that has sent many stars to the NFL. There he learns from the coach about the WINNING WAYS of the Wolverines through 4 SECRETS FOR GETTING BETTER RESULTS BY WORKING WELL WITH PEOPLE. <P>Although this book is written as a fiction, it actually is an entertaining self-help guide to improve relational skills. The book focuses on helping loners work with their teammates in a more cooperative environment. Author Dick Lyles keeps his advice simple while explaining how to escape the paradigm of the lone wolf. WINNING WAYS is a winner filled with a common sense approach to better organizational effectiveness. <P>Harriet Klausner

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