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Accelerating Performance by Sharon Toye, Colin Price

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CHAPTER 8Accelerating Teams Capability Equals Ability Minus Ego

From 2012 to 2016, the chief operating officer (COO) of the U.K.’s Nationwide Building Society, Tony Prestedge, built and led one of the most successful leadership teams in its 170-year history. It wasn’t always easy. It wasn’t always pretty. But with resilience and determination, he followed an orchestrated and thoughtful program of team development, and it paid off.

At the time of this writing, in the first quarter of 2016, Nationwide was ranked number one for customer service satisfaction among its peers. Nationwide has assets of around £210 billion (about $279 billion), making it larger than the remaining 44 British building societies combined. In 2016, Nationwide appeared third in The Sunday Times’ “Best 25 Big Companies to Work For” poll. For the 2015–2016 year, profits rose 23 percent.

What Prestedge accomplished at Nationwide underscores our premise that organizations are a collection of teams and that teams are the engines of the organization—the performance of an organization critically depends on teams at every level. In today’s new normal of constant disruption and fleeting competitive advantage, performance depends on the ability of teams to accelerate. They must mobilize around a simple set of strategic priorities efficiently, harness resources, experiment, and innovate ahead of the market. Teams must also spot opportunities and threats and pivot faster than their competitors. But—and it’s a big but—many ...

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