Executive Summary

By putting themselves in the shoes of their team members and reflecting on three questions, leaders can inspire passion and performance even in their least committed teammates, according to the co-authors of a book on committed teams. Here, they give a brief summary, revealing the questions and describing the types of situations where they can spark great dedication to team objectives.

We love teams, but wherever we look, we see a sad truth: Most teams underperform. A large part of the reason relates to passion—often teams have members who simply have no interest in being there.

Consider the case of our friend, Jim, who quickly rose through the ranks of the federal government and became deputy director of a major agency at a young age. He had gotten that far largely based on his ability to lead and inspire his peers. Yet in this new role, he was totally stumped about how to handle a team of reports, many of whom seemed impossible to motivate. A number of them had been at the agency for decades with little career movement. One flat out admitted that he was just looking to cash a paycheck and do the minimum expected of him until retirement.

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