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Program Highlights

  • External focus, fluid roles, and distributed leadership define high-performing X-teams.
  • The three phases of product or process development needed for a team’s success.
  • How to establish and support X-teams in your organization.
Deborah Ancona challenges the dominant wisdom that effective teams focus internally on the roles, synergies, and collaboration of team members to produce results. Building on twenty-five years of research, she shows that the most successful teams instead focus externally—on customers, competition, and the marketplace—tapping into an expanded knowledge base and skills set to move forward quickly.
X-teams cross boundaries within their own organizations as well. Members network up and down the hierarchy, gaining support for their undertaking as well as knowing how best to integrate it strategically into the organization.
X-teams need to be fostered, and Dr. Ancona describes how team members should be selected, what the mindset of the team should be from Day 1, and how the teams should be supported with tools, timelines, deliverables, and top-management commitment.
Deborah Ancona is the faculty director for the MIT Leadership Center. She is the author of the book “In Praise of the Incomplete Leader,” and co-author of “ X-Teams: How to Build Teams that Lead, Innovate and Succeed.”


Deborah Ancona

Seley Distinguished Professor of Management; Behavioral and Policy Sciences, MIT


54 Minutes