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Creating a High Performance Team- Book Review of The Orange Revolution

Creating High Performance Teams for your Organization

As of today The Orange revolution is currently in the top 25 on Amazon in the categories of leadership and management. Congratulations.  We give The Orange Revolution a thumbs up and high recommendations.  This book will have broad appeal but be especially useful to department and project mangers, human resources, business leaders, CEO’s, and other executives. Anyone gathering to work with others as a group will walk away with something useful from this book.

The authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton have a history of insightful book titles in the area of employee management and engagement emphasizing the power of employee recognition. In the Orange Revolution, Gostick and Elton draw on the results of a 350,000 person survey asking questions about the employee’s perceptions of their organizations in terms of goal setting, communications, trust, accountability, and recognition. Their goal?  To find common themes, to gain insight into what makes a team work, and to answer the question, What are the key ingredients of high performing teams?

The authors present their research highlighted with stories, examples, and discussion to emphasize their points.  For example, one such example story is about Thomas Edison, a brilliant mind often credited with the sole creation of many inventions.  Per the authors, Edison actually functioned as a team leader on projects, and even accepted that he alone did not possess all the answers to difficult scientific challenges but relied on his teams to come up with the solutions. His strategy involved creating high performance teams comprised of very talented people.  He then fostered environments where those people excelled. From this simple example the authors create an image of what a great team could look like and what it might take to get there.

Secrets of High Performing Teams

What are the secret ingredients of high performing teams they outline? Breakthrough teams, ones that produce exceptional results, have an understanding among members

“that in the interest of the greater good team members agree to set standards for their interactions”.

This idea might at first be easily overlooked, but it reveals a lot about the ingredients of great teams.  For example: that good teams are self directing, focused on a common purpose, and require agreed upon rules or environments. Specifically, the authors point out, the most desirable environments have these qualities.

  • 1. Team members recognize each others competency. Competency as a building block, influences not only the quality of the outcome but the steps to get there. Communication and trust for example are influenced by perceived competency.
  • 2. Team members have a shared vision or goal to unite them.
  • 3. The team has open communication.
  • 4. The team is accountable (empowered) to get the job done.
  • 5. There is trust among members.

Lastly the authors place employee recognition as the one element that distinguishes breakthrough teams from just good teams.

You can see the above ingredients in great sports teams throughout history so these secrets are of course not new revelations. We at People Ink as well as the new breed of business leaders have been instructing others about how great organization cultures come about for years.  However, Gostick and Elton present a compelling account of the pieces that go into the team building process and how even good teams can become better.

Other useful book contents:

  • 101 ways to bring your team together- useful ideas for communicating goals and sharing a common vision.
  • Applying the Orange Revolution as a guide to living. Most everyone could use some fresh perspective on teams they are part of.

The Orange Revolution is available on Amazon.
Visit Orange Revolution home page on for more information.

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