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Untitled Document Summary:

Bennis, W. & Biederman, P. W. (1997) Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration, Perseus Books, Cambridge, MA.

-In my opinion the book tries to answer the question, what conditions lead to extraordinary collaborations.

-The authors define an extraordinary collaboration as "the process whereby Great Groups are able to accomplish so much more than talented people working alone."

-Collaboration is essential in today's fast-paced world in which "timely information is the most important commodity." p.3

-The final chapter is probably the most important for our purposes and some of the lessons it confers could be applied to our class. Here are the headings of the take-home lessons:

1. Greatness starts with superb people. By this the authors mean the best of the best I imagine. This applies to us.

2. Great groups and great leaders create each other. Simply being around talented people makes one better and more effective. A group of talented people makes their leader better simply by being around him/her and great leaders make the group better.

3. Every Great Group has a strong leader.

4. The leaders of Great Groups love talent and know where to find it.

5. Great Groups are full of talented people who can work together.

6. Great Groups think they are on a mission from God.

7. Every Great Group is an island--but an island with a bridge to the mainland. This refers to the tendency of Great Groups to isolate so they can focus entirely on solving the problem without any outside distractions. They have a protector who handles the beurocrats on their behalf (connection to the mainland) so that they are not distracted by trivial details of funding, resources, etc.

8. Great Groups see themselves as winning underdogs. They pretend that many want them to fail in order to motivate them to succeed.

9. Great Groups always have an enemy. This tries to capture the motivation/fear/excitement that a soldier has when in the heat of combat.

10. People in Great Groups have blinders on. Trivial details of daily life such as pets, family and landscaping tend to be neglected because of the obsession with the project.

11. Great Groups are optimistic, not realistic. The word "impossible" does not exist in their vovabulary.

12. In Great Groups, the right person has the right job. Everyone finds their own perfect niche within the group.

13. The leaders of Great Groups give them what they need and free them from the rest. All non-essentials are stripped from the working environment.

14. Great Groups ship.

15. Great work is its own reward. How true!

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