Cover of Moving Out of the Box by Jana M. Kemp
Moving Out of the Box
Jana M. Kemp


184 pages.

Paperback ISBN: 9780804762465



Project teams are the rule, rather than the exception, in today's organizations. But, thanks to the pressure of performance goals, conflicting agendas, and political jockeying, few teams make consistently superior decisions. In Moving Out of the Box: Tools for Team Decision Making author Jana M. Kemp, an authority on team decision making, saves the day by offering tested methods and tools that teams and leaders can use to ratchet up their performance level.

The book argues that making good decisions involves expansive group conversation that leads to sound conclusions and swift execution. This sounds simple, but in many organizations, making a decision and seeing it through can become an exercise in frustration for managers and employees alike. At one end of the spectrum are "command-and-control" decisions, proclaimed from on-high and implemented through the ranks without input or buy-in from those affected by the decision. This approach can lead to resentment and backlash. At the other end are purely collaborative, consensus-driven decisions that often lead to inoffensive, weak choices and sub-par results.

Moving Out of the Box shows that there is a time for consensus, a time for command-and-control, and a time to integrate both approaches. Providing examples of successes and failures, the text identifies five decision-making profiles—antisurvival, boxed-in, neutral, engaged enthusiasm, extreme excitement—to help you position yourself in relation to your teammates, facilitate discussion, and steer your group toward the most effective end point. The text includes scenarios, exercises, quizzes, sample questions, and other conversation starters. And, the book ends with a blueprint for putting decisions into action.

About the author

Jana M. Kemp, Founder and Principal of Meeting & Management Essentials, is a management trainer, facilitator, and speaker, specializing in improving individual and organizational productivity and performance. She is the author of Moving Meetings (1994) and No! How One Simple Word Can Transform Your Life (2005). She is coauthor of Building Community in Buildings (2007).

"We've all been in that place where the deliberative process grinds to a halt, decisions can't get made personalities usually supplant process, and frustration feeds a downward spiral. In Moving Out of the Box, Jana M. Kemp sheds new light on these dynamics and cleverly arms you with an array of useful tools and perspectives to combat them. These are important tactics at any level, and this book is fun to read."

—Gregory Casey, President & CEO, Business-Industry Political Action Committee

"Whether you are inexperienced at attending and running meetings or have been around the block hundreds of times—Jana M. Kemp's book will be a wonderful and useful addition to your toolbox. It clearly explains underlying theory and concepts, while providing powerful and practical suggestions for successful and committed decision making."

—Jamie and Maren Showkeir, coauthors,Authentic Conversations: Moving from Manipulation to Truth and Commitment

"A must read for any leader or team that's trying to make the right decisions! Jana M. Kemp's insightful and thought-provoking book provides an excellent roadmap for reaching the right destination through collaborative effort."

—Richard Chang, CEO, Richard Chang Associates, Inc. and author of The Passion Plan and Performance Scorecards