Primal Teams: Harnessing the Power of Emotions to Fuel Extraordinary Performance

Primal Teams: Harnessing the Power of Emotions to Fuel Extraordinary Performance

by Jackie Barretta


$22.46 $24.95 Save 10% Current price is $22.46, Original price is $24.95. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Friday, October 19  Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.


Primal Teams: Harnessing the Power of Emotions to Fuel Extraordinary Performance by Jackie Barretta

Emotion, more than anything else, spells the difference between stellar and mediocre team performance. Fear, anger, frustration, and other negative feelings, can en danger a group's dynamic. But positive emotions have the power to transform it into a high-performance engine, where everyone operates at their peak. Their minds sharpen. They find creative solutions. They get great results. Thanks to discoveries in neuroscience and psychology, we now know that emotions operate independently from our logical minds. They can't be reasoned away. They must be dealt with directly. Drawing on the latest research, Primal Teams shows how any one can control potentially damaging emotions, while triggering the kind of passion and energy that supercharge performance. Illustrated with compelling examples, this groundbreaking guide reveals how to: Transform fear and negativity * Energize primal emotional systems * Activate insight and intuition * Foster emotional bonds and team spirit * Connect the team to a deeper purpose * And more Emotions determine whether a group works with energy and enthusiasm or just goes through the motions. With the array of insights and practical tools in this book, anyone can inspire an unprecedented level of performance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814434413
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 10/21/2014
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

JACKIE BARRETTA is a Founding Partner of Nura Group, a consulting firm dedicated to enhancing team innovation and performance. Her work with primal emotions in teams has won her widespread recognition and dozens of prestigious awards.

Read an Excerpt


Hidden Energy

Unleashing Maximum Potential

Over a decade ago, IBM met a challenge that would have destroyed most businesses. IBM’s leaders, recognizing that the company could not sustain a viable future relying on the hardware that had made it a household name, initiated a complete transformation of the company from a hardware manufacturer to a global problem solver. Their new business model deployed smart teams to work creatively with clients on the development of customized solutions to complex business problems. Instead of just selling PCs to a customer, IBM now fields teams who analyze the customer’s workflow to determine the functions that equipment, such as mobile devices, could enable employees to perform optimally.

Transforming the company from building one-size-fits-all products to developing one-of-a-kind solutions to meet unique needs took courage. Such a huge and risky strategy would capsize most companies a but IBM isn’t most companies. Its employees often say they “bleed blue,” meaning the IBM spirit and culture run through their veins.

Their deep emotional connection to the company helped motivate them to persevere through a difficult transition and played a key role in their success as members of smart, creative teams. The emotional connections and sensations that people feel in the workplace can empower them to come up with innovative solutions to their clients’ most challenging problems. At IBM, emotions—as much as, if not more than, IQ or any other measure of brilliance—stimulated people to make their new service business succeed in a radically altered marketplace.

In this chapter, you’ll discover that your organization already contains a treasure trove of similar problem-solving potential that you’re able to release by stirring optimal (i.e., distinctly upbeat and deeply felt)

emotions in your people.


I vividly recall the magic that happened one day in a software development team I was leading. The CEO of our company, a trucking giant a had challenged us to alter our computer systems to support a new railroad service he wanted to launch in four weeks. We felt highly motivated and had spent every waking moment over a two-day period straining to find a quick way to modify our trucking software to work for railroads. Sitting together in a conference room, batting around ideas a and drawing diagrams on the whiteboard long after the other company’s teams had gone home for the day, one of our teammates, Jake, voiced our basic fear: “We just can’t do it in four weeks. These changes are going to take at least four months.”

Although I respected Jake, I felt we could do better. “Let’s shift our emotions,” I suggested. Several heads nodded agreement. We all needed a break from fear and anxiety. “Forget about all these alternatives and diagrams,” I continued. “Let’s take the problem and put it on a mental shelf alongside our anxiety.” I then led an exercise (which I’ll outline later in this chapter) to get everyone de-stressed, centered, and feeling positive. Once the energy in the room had shifted, I said, “Now let’s pull the problem off the shelf, leave all the anxiety behind, and see what happens.” It took only a few minutes before Jake exclaimed, “I’ve got it! I know how we can solve this quickly.” He had devised an elegant solution we could implement in a scant few weeks.

Make Creativity Job One

The success of an organization depends on those key moments when teams develop creative ways to provide greater value to customers and perform more efficiently in increasingly demanding situations. Too often, a team under pressure falls prey to negative emotions like fear and anxiety and formulates an unimaginative solution that barely gets the job done, takes an eternity to implement, and requires constant repair.

However, when they replace fear and anxiety with optimal emotions such as joy and playfulness, they find it a lot easier to dream up solutions that delight customers, rapidly deliver value, and elegantly evolve along with the business.

A 2010 IBM survey reported that the majority of over 1,600 global

CEOs agree that the success of their companies rests on the creative problem-solving capabilities of their people. That’s the only way their companies can handle the accelerating complexity of today’s business terrain, with all of its disruptive technological innovations, quickly evolving customer expectations, constantly shifting government regulations a dramatic swings in the global economy, and overwhelming volumes of data.

You must instill creativity at every level, from the senior executive team to the help desk staff, because you cannot afford to waste valuable time waiting for decisions to travel up and down the food chain. By

then, impatient customers will have switched to your competition.

While executives in the IBM survey agreed that organizations should encourage creativity in frontline workers, they admitted that they did not know how to do that.

Whether your team must solve an internal design problem or invent the next disruptive breakthrough in your industry, they won’t exceed your expectations unless you make it clear that creativity is Job One and develop an environment that fosters innovative thinking. Don’t leave creativity to chance; shape it by design. Most businesses today focus intently on enabling data-based decisions and streamlining their processes a but these tactics will never spark the creativity needed to get and stay ahead of the competition. Creativity and innovation require the right state of mind. Fortunately, new research in psychology and neuroscience suggests that you can employ specific methods to put any team in the state of mind where creativity becomes a habit.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Prologue: “Since Feeling Is First . . .” 1

1 Hidden Energy: Unleashing Maximum Potential 5

Sparking the Creative Brain 6

Deepening the Impact 11

Dampening the Energy 17

Going to the Source 22

Using an Emotional Savvy Gauge to Measure Your Team’s Emotional Proficiency 25

2 Primal Emotion: Shifting Emotions at the Source 27

Using Novelty to Reignite Drive 29

Playing for the Fun of It 36

Sounding Off 39

Laughing Out Loud 42

Letting Your Face Do the Talking 44

Using the Emotion Shape Shifter to Modify Emotions at

Their Source 48

3 The Scary Stuff: Processing Fear and Negativity 49

Accommodating Negativity 51

Shining a Light on Fear 54

Creating a Diversion from Negative Thoughts 58

Desensitizing Your Team to Fear 63

Using a Fear Release Guide to Reduce Fear and Negativity 68

4 Emotional Contagion: Spreading Coherence in a Team 71

Spawning Good Cheer 72

Becoming the True Leader 79

Making Coherence a Competency 85

Using the Emotional Contagion Do’s and Don’ts to Spread Optimal

Emotions 91

5 The Sixth Sense: Detecting Emotions 93

Getting a Feel for Feelings 94

Making Your Team More Attractive 102

Enhancing Integrity 107

Using the Emotion Detector to Detect Moods and Emotional

Signatures 113

6 The Engaged Heart: Connecting to a Deeper Purpose 117

Inspiring Your Team 118

Resonating with Your People 126

Defining Team Membership 132

Using the Five Why’s to Define an Inspiring Purpose 137

7 Primal IQ: Activating Insight and Intuition 139

Learning to Work Creatively 140

Incubating an Insight 145

Tapping Intuition 150

Mixing It Up 156

Using the Hunch Detector to Sense Intuition 159

8 Team Spirit: Building Emotional Bonds 161

Tightening the Connections 162

Avoiding Common Bonding Pitfalls 170

Broadening Perspectives 175

Using the Team Bonder to Provoke Deep Connections 180

9 The Balanced Culture: Restraining Runaway Egos 183

Moderating Egotistical Behavior 184

Balancing Competition and Cooperation 191

Tapping the Beginner’s Mind 196

Using a Team Agreement to Keep Egos in Check 203

Epilogue: When the Going Gets Tough 205

Notes 209

Index 219

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews