Summary of How to Turn a Group of Strangers Into a Team

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How to Turn a Group of Strangers Into a Team summary


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Today, stable work teams that have ample time to gel, strategize and plan are becoming a rarity. According to Harvard professor Amy Edmonson, dynamic work environments and large-scale challenges require “teaming”: the flexibility to collaborate in the moment with an ever-changing roster of professionals. Edmondson describes the qualities essential to teaming and provides real-world success stories. getAbstract recommends her clear, practical talk to those involved in team management and cross-disciplinary work.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How “teaming” differs from teamwork,
  • Why teaming is often best-suited for today’s work environment and
  • What three qualities are essential to successful teaming.

About the Speaker

Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, PhD, is the author of Extreme Teaming.



In 2010, a collapse at the San Jose Copper Mine in Chile trapped 33 men a half-mile underground without sufficient food. No technology existed to drill quick enough through the hard, thick rock to save the miners. Yet, 70 days later, all 33 men returned alive to the surface. Their rescue proved the power of  “teaming” – that is, professionals coordinated “on the fly” across disciplines and distance and with an ever-changing roster of experts. A sports team exemplifies teamwork: The group of players is small and unchanging, so it can practice toward achieving a shared goal. In contrast, ball players gathering at the park for a pickup game are teaming. They find a way to work together without the benefit of planning or practice.

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