Every successful organization needs high-performance teams to compete and succeed. Yet, technical people are often resistant to traditional "touchy-feely" teambuilding.
To improve communication, performance, and morale among NASA’s technical teams, former NASA Astrophysicist Dr. Charlie Pellerin developed the teambuilding process described in "How NASA Builds Teams"—an approach that is proven, quantitative, and requires only a fraction of the time and resources of traditional training methods. This "4-D" process has boosted team performance in hundreds of NASA project teams, engineering teams, and management teams, including the people responsible for NASA’s most complex systems — the Space Shuttle, space telescopes, robots on Mars, and the mission back to the moon. How NASA Builds Teams explains how the 4-D teambuilding process can be applied in any organization, and includes a fast, free on-line behavioral assessment to help your team and the individual members understand each other and measure the key driver of team performance, the social context.
Moreover, these simple, logical processes appeal strongly to technical teams who eschew "touchy-feely" training. Pellerin applies simple, elegant principles from his physics background to the art teambuilding, such as the use of a coordinate system to analyze the characteristics of team performance into actionable elements.
The author illustrates the teambuilding process with entertaining stories from his decade as NASA’s Director for Astrophysics and subsequent 15 years of working closely with NASA and outside business teams. For example, he tells how the processes in the book enabled him to initiate the space mission to fix the Hubble Space Telescope’s flawed mirror.
Free downloadable resources will help you:
- Identify your teammates’ innate personalities
- Diagram your culture (And compare it to your customer’s)
- Measure the coherency of your project’s paradigm (Get this wrong and you will be fired!) and
- Learn to meet people’s need to feel valued by you.
Further, you can download and use Pellerin’s most powerful tool for influencing the outcome of any difficult situation: the Context Shifting Worksheet.
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About the Author
Charles J. Pellerin holds a PhD in astrophysics and is the former director of NASA's Astrophysics Division, where he oversaw an annual budget of $750 million, launched a dozen satellites, and led the team that repaired the Hubble Space Telescope. He was also Professor of Leadership in the business school at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Table of Contents
PART I: UNDERSTANDING AND ANALYZING CONTEXT.
CHAPTER 1 Think You Can Ignore Context? Hubble’s Flawed Mirror Might Wake You Up.
CHAPTER 2 Managing Social Context Manages Technical Performance.
CHAPTER 3 The 4-D System: A Simple Tool to Analyze Team and Individual Performance.
PART II: USING 4-D ASSESSMENTS AND REPRESENTATIVE RESULTS FROM NASA.
CHAPTER 4 The 4-D Assessment Process.
CHAPTER 5 NASA’s 4-D Teambuilding Results.
PART III: 4-D DIAGNOSTICS: HOW TO COLOR CODE YOUR TEAM’S CONTEXT.
CHAPTER 6 Using the 4-D System to Color Your Personalities.
CHAPTER 7 Using the 4-D System to Analyze Cultures.
CHAPTER 8 Incoherent Project Mindset Colors? Update Your Resume.
PART IV: SHIFTING THE CONTEXT.
CHAPTER 9 The Context Shifting Worksheet (CSW).
CHAPTER 10 Red Story-Lines Limit Team Performance.
CHAPTER 11 Manage Your Emotions to Manage Your Team’s Energy.
CHAPTER 12 People Need to Feel Appreciated by You.
CHAPTER 13 Mine the Gold in Your Shared Interests.
CHAPTER 14 People Need to Feel Included by You.
CHAPTER 15 Building Trustworthy Contexts.
CHAPTER 16 Creating the Future You Want.
CHAPTER 17 Your Team Can’t Afford Drama.
CHAPTER 18 Don’t Put Good People in Bad Places.
Epilogue: Hubble’s Legacy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As an OD and learning consultant for nearly 20 years, this is the only approach to teambuilding that I have discovered that consistently transforms teams and has quantitative evidence to prove it. With a 'team shifting context', Dr. Pellerin provides leaders and their teams with tools that are easily put into practice - and much more effective and efficient than individual training. The examples in his book are interesting and relatable for any project team member, and as a bonus, he offers free downloable resources.
This book offers a simple (yet profound), immediately applicable process to support positive team experiences and excellent team outcomes - relevant for all stages of team formation/evolution. Don't wait to use it for the "autopsy" of why your team wasn't successful.
Space exploration was not easily accomplished. One failed attempt after another proved this was not a task for the weak. Dr. Charles J. Pellerin was blamed for "leadership shortfall". All because of a teeny, tiny, little mishap. Luckily, he was able to redeem himself by fixing the telescope. Thanks to this advancement, he decided to look into forming better team relationships.This was a very interesting book that included great tips for interacting with others. I think this would be especially helpful for business owners.
The book has evidence and data to show the extent of voluntary usage and the resulting impact on teams' performance. The population of aerospace professionals is highly educated (techincally), experienced, skeptical and suspicious of other professions "helping" them. Since the authour is "one of them," his concepts, language and methods are accepted and credible. I believe the book and related brief assessments will be a strong source of performance advantage, just when society desparately needs valuable contributions from technical teams with such advanatage.