Cover Page

“ . . . changing and elevating behaviors
is not an intellectual exercise.
It's the business of the heart.”

Praise for Do Big Things

“I love this book. I love it because it's refreshingly original and unique. I love it because it's delightfully well-written. I love it because it's full of captivating tales that bring to life the struggles and triumphs of high-performing teams. I love it because the practices and principles are based on years of up-close-and-personal experiences and empirical evidence. And I love Do Big Things most of all because Craig Ross, Angie Paccione, and Victoria Roberts remind us that successful teams are not about star players or outsized talents, but about relationships where people exhibit caring, humanity, and heart. They show us how it's the human imperative that builds and sustains excellence. If you want your team to do big things, it's imperative that you read and apply Do Big Things.”

—Jim Kouzes, coauthor of The Leadership Challenge and the Dean's Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

“People don't mind being challenged to do better if they know the request is coming from a caring heart. Do Big Things has a clear message: People in high performing teams need to care for one another. We can do big things together when we understand that relationships are just as important as results.”

—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The New One Minute Manager® and Collaboration Begins with You

“We all know that teamwork is important work . . . but it's also hard work! Craig, Angie, and Victoria have somehow cracked the code with the Do Big Things framework. Not only do they challenge us to rethink our beliefs about what makes a successful team, but they have also given us a powerful set of easy to use practices that any organization can use, if they are courageous enough.”

—Andrew Collier, Head of Leadership Development, Nestlé

“Do Big Things is a clarion call to think big and accomplish feats that matter. This book can serve as your guide to changing your attitudes and actions to bring your farther down the road to success.”

—Daniel Pink, author of Drive and To Sell is Human

“This book captures the magic of extraordinary teams and gives you a roadmap to navigate and accomplish your toughest challenges. I've seen the tools equip good teams to become great teams—by shifting how teams move from an individual focus to a collective force to achieve amazing results.”

—Lisa Bacus, EVP Global Chief Marketing Officer, Cigna

Do Big Things offers a simple and heart-based approach to elevate teams beyond high performing. If you want to open hearts and minds in your business, arm your team with this book . . . and maybe you'll all live a little more deliciously.”

—Chip Conley, NY Times bestselling author of Emotional Equations, Airbnb Strategic Advisor for Hospitality & Leadership

“This book serves as validation and a how-to for successful teams that are beyond high performance. The teams that master this approach are unstoppable.”

—Marshall Goldsmith recognized as a Top 10 Most Influential Business Thinker in the World, best-selling author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There and Lifestorming: Creating Meaning and Achievement in Your Career and Life

“The Do Big Things approach and steps are very powerful and transformative. Leaders and teams who choose to apply them can make a huge difference to their business and organization. It is a must-read for any leader wanting to play big with high impact.”

—Anne Watson, Global Human Resources Leader, Fortune 500 Company

“Ross, Paccione, and Roberts cut through the typical to the atypical, with an approach that embodies effectiveness and engagement, wrapped in—of all things—heart! A must-read for those who want and need their teams to do big things.”

—Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D., Vice President, ACE Leadership

“Do Big Things is different. Because of our commitment to following the steps in this book, I am seeing how collectively, as one team, we will re-invent the way we innovate. These steps are simple, immediate, and authentic. The tools shared in this book have become a common language that allows us to lead with clarity and optimism like never before.”

—Franck Leveiller, VP, Head, R&D Surgical Franchise, Alcon

“Craig Ross taught us the power of comradery. In this new book, the authors teach us about the power of chemistry. It's powerful.”

—Jack Stack, Founder and CEO of SRC Holdings, author of The Great Game of Business

“Unlike other teaming books I've read, this book immediately improved the way I interact with colleagues. Ross, Paccione, and Roberts have inspired me to focus on the process and even more on the people—to lead less from my brain and more from my heart.”

—Mariah Burton Nelson, MPH, CAE, is in charge of innovation for ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership

“The practical Do Big Things Framework gives teams a map to be their best—and accomplish innovation by working across the business on a shared goal. I've seen this book come to life and it's powerful and a game-changer when you experience more potential being activated in your leaders and teams.”

—Kevin McEvoy, Former CEO, Oceaneering International, Inc.

Do Big Things contains simple yet powerful tools that are timeless and work for any team. I've seen and personally experienced teams achieve incredible innovation and organizational transformations by applying the principles outlined by Ross, Paccione, and Roberts.”

—Terence Calloway, Vice President R&D, Chief Technology Officer, Energizer

Do Big Things is a guide for any team. Grounded in research focused on the human element, Do Big Things combines a trusted process with proven tools to serve as a catalyst that inspires teams to reach amazing heights.”

—Mike Bloomfield, Former NASA Astronaut, Shuttle Commander

Do Big Things includes an approach that supported our team in navigating market conditions, being agile, and shifting our strategy—and doing so in a way that improved the lives of our team and community. It's equipped us to live, lead, and care while successfully having the greatest impact on our culture, community and business.”

—Patrick Criteser, President & CEO, Tillamook

“The Do Big Things approach equipped our team to leverage our solid foundation in culture to achieve even greater business results (sales and margin growth)—with leaders showing up wanting to be their best ever, transforming our organization, and moving us forward faster. If you're not using these tools, you're already behind.”

—Matt Reid, CEO & President, SupHerb Farms

“Few books offer quick insights that impact teams immediately. Do Big Things, and the approach in its pages, shifts teams in dramatic ways. I've experienced first-hand the power of these tools in support leaders and teams to be adaptable.”

—Eric Stockl, VP, Ecolab

“I am a big believer in giving the ‘how’ to managers and individuals alike. There are too many articles and books that address the ‘what’ and many individuals are floundering because they agree with that, but don't know the steps necessary to make the change. Thank you Craig, Angie, and Victoria, for making this a great ‘how’ book and providing enough examples that resonate with any leader or any individual in any team in any organization. Wow!”

—Beverly Kaye, Founder: Career Systems International; Co-Author: Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay and Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want

“The introduction of this terrific book lays down the gauntlet: ‘We . . . are not here to be inconsequential or do small work.' You already up for that challenge, I know. But you can't do it alone. You need good people with you. You need a team. And sadly, good teams are hard to find. 70 percent of employees report being part of a dysfunctional team. If you'd like to change that up, this may be the book for you. Do Great Work, Do it with a great team.”

—Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit and Do More Great Work

“You will find not only practical ideas that can be implemented immediately, but evidence-based strategies that provide a compelling framework for action. Look elsewhere for the usual management bromides in which talk is a substitute for action. This is a book about decisions—deciding to be great, deciding to take responsibility, and deciding to make a difference.”

—Douglas Reeves, Ph.D., Founder, Creative Leadership Solutions, author of the best-selling The Learning Leader

“Using real-life examples from their multiple decades of consulting, Craig, Angie, and Victoria deliver a pragmatic way to inspire and earn high performance from every organization's most precious asset, the human beings who work there. I recommend this book to anyone looking to find the precious balance between high performance and humanity.”

—Henry J. Evans; Co-Author of Amazon Top 10 Business Book Step Up-Lead in Six Moments That Matter, and author of the best-selling Winning With Accountability-The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations

“In life and business every new undertaking is a venture into the unknown. Craig, Angie, and Victoria have written a book that serves as a valuable roadmap for any leader who's looking to do more and be more. This book shows a way to achieve greater results with deeper satisfaction.”

—Bryan Miller, author of the forthcoming book, Power, Productivity & Peace

Do Big Things

The Simple Steps Teams Can Take to Mobilize Hearts and Minds, and Make an Epic Impact

CRAIG W. ROSS | ANGELA V. PACCIONE | VICTORIA L. ROBERTS

Wiley Logo

Figure depicting a hand written text by author that states “Dedicated To OUR FAMILIES. YOU INSPIRE US TO DO BIG THINGS.”

Read Me First

We are now ready to start on our way down the Great Unknown. We have an unknown distance yet to run; an unknown river yet to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not.

—Major John Wesley Powell, in 1869, as the crew of
explorers at his command descended into the unexplored
Grand Canyon of the western United States1

Your team is expected to deliver—big. Like Powell's crew nearly 150 years ago, perhaps you're even embarking on an ambitious plan to do something that's never been done before. Your Grand Canyon in front of you is deep and fraught with risks. And if you're like most, you begin your journey amid swirling changes and scarce resources.

Even though you may believe you personally have what it takes to deliver on your responsibilities, you wonder: Is every person on the team truly committed and capable of bringing their best? Will the members of the team productively work together and become larger than the sum of individuals? And will the team be able to work its magic in a company culture that at times lacks alignment and is careless about valuing the people doing the work?

Does your team have a chance to succeed?

“I have no question that a team can generate magic. But don't count on it,” observed renowned team dynamics expert and professor of psychology at Harvard, Richard Hackman.2 Volumes of research on the topic support his claim. As a sampling, consider that 70 percent of the workforce say they are a part of a dysfunctional team,3 while the experts who assess team effectiveness say 75 percent of cross-functional teams function below their potential4—in some cases, by significant margins.

Is your team telling itself the truth? The fact is, in most cases the odds are stacked against you and your team. But it's not like you're going to throw your hands up and quit. Within you is the belief that big things can be achieved when the right things are done. This powers you internally. So you choose to step forward. (Doing so makes you feel alive.)

Your team doesn't have to meet an inglorious fate. History, including as recently as yesterday, includes teams that have overcome the odds and achieved extraordinary feats. We know this, because we've spent over two decades obsessed with teams that do big things. Specifically, we've pursued answering one question: How do they do it? Specifically, how do members of a successful team function together—in the midst of churn and constant change—to succeed when it seems they don't have a prayer of delivering your business imperative?

We found the answer. As a part of an expanding team of professional development specialists, consultants, and coaches, we've invested over 65,000 hours observing and studying what teams do (and don't do) to deliver on their business imperative. Our work includes supporting leaders and teams at global companies including P&G, Nestlé, Novartis, Cigna, Ford, Harley-Davidson, and others, as well as start-ups and those in academia, government, and nonprofits. In addition, we've studied teams in the world of sports, exploration, entertainment, and more. In each case, we found a common and undeniable pattern of steps, a code, successful teams use on their way to making a meaningful impact.

Just like Powell's team left us all with a map we can now use to safely navigate the Grand Canyon, so there is a replicable framework with clear steps that your team—any team—can take to succeed and do big things. We want you to have and experience that process. That's what this book delivers.

Teams that are ignorant about the severe odds they face, or choose to deny the facts, risk more than business results by rushing to their boats shouting, “We have to succeed!” Because such teams are ill-prepared for the perilous whitewater rapids that are most certainly ahead, the careers and happiness of teammates are at stake.

Your solution is more than people-centered; our work with leaders and teams around the world makes clear that big success occurs when the best of each teammate is brought forth in relation to the people around them. To that end, your team can and should be one of the greatest levers to improving the leadership of every team member.

Whether you're curing cancer, building buildings, developing software, selling widgets, organizing a charity, mobilizing first responders, coaching Little League, or huddling with financial experts, your team is influencing your organization's health in significant ways. The imperative is that this is done productively, where your team impacts other teams in ways that enable them to also do big things.

This book, and its valuable map for team success, is designed and written for you. Whether you're a team leader (or aspire to be), or you play a different role and are committed to doing your best to help your team succeed, we've delivered the content so theory can more easily be put into practice.

We as human beings are not here to be inconsequential or do small work. We are here because we matter. And we want to matter more. It is in our control to do the extraordinary, and it is our fortune to do so as a team.

While history creates its heroes out of individuals (insert your favorite here), even their work would be forgotten if it hadn't been for a team coming together around or behind them to do something more significant than any one of them alone. Indeed, people working together—a team—is usually the only reason big things are achieved.

Your team can make an epic impact—and in the process have an epic impact on you. Your Grand Canyon awaits.

Disclaimer!

Because the proven methodology in this book works, as your team quickly begins to do bigger things, your team is going to stand out. And here's why.

This book doesn't conform to the established thinking and doctrines of most other business books. For starters, being a high-performing team is not the ultimate objective. There's more. (Heresy? Perhaps, but you're about to prove that today's teams must go beyond mere basics to succeed.) Nor do we pontificate about the importance of trust, communication, alignment, accountability, and every other well-studied dynamic of successful teams.

That's because we have proven that teams that do big things don't do what's normal. They do what is exceptional. Specifically, developing your team to be trustworthy, communicate more effectively, and so forth isn't what your business is asking you to do. (More heresy!) Your business is demanding results.

Transformation occurs when you enable your team members to better deliver what has to get done by equipping them to be their best, bring out the best in others, and partner across the business to deliver shared objectives. When people are enabled to be their best, the business does its best. Now, because of your boldness, you will see an increase in the greatest practices of humanity, including trust and all the other values your team and organization cherish.

This is about the heart of the matter—being who we all know we can be—together. That's how big things are done.

Notes