Magazine article Talent Development

Geoff Bellman: Management Consultant, GMB Associates Seattle, Washington

Magazine article Talent Development

Geoff Bellman: Management Consultant, GMB Associates Seattle, Washington

Article excerpt

Geoff Bellman is a management consultant, first having served within major corporations and subsequently, externally. He is author of six books, including Extraordinary Groups: How Ordinary Teams Achieve Amazing Results, The Consultant's Calling, and Getting Things Done When You Are Not in Charge.

Bellman is a charter member of the Woodlands Group, which has been exploring individual, organizational, and societal change for more than 30 years. With others, he founded the Community Consulting Partnership, a service to the Seattle not-for-profit community.


The changing world has required that I think about leadership differently. The 21st century pace and options are so much different than the world I grew up in. This fastmoving 24/7 world requires a different response from leaders.

I still see leadership as about the constructive joining of people to meet their needs while serving a larger purpose-that's my working definition. Attending to the needs of team members is central to our book Extraordinary Groups. My co-author, Kathleen Ryan, and I believe people need to work together-not just want to, or are required to, but need to join with others. So much of today's complex world depends on meeting this need to group.

If you want your team to perform well, pay attention to what each individual needs from the team. It may be the opportunity to grow, or to join with a great little group, or to change their world. Or, they may want acceptance, or to accomplish something with others. These are all examples of different needs people have that leaders can attend to.

I view leading a large organization as leading a team of teams. Picture a CEO whose team has teams of their own who also have teams, and so on. An organization is made up of these linkages of small teams, less than 10 per team being ideal.


There are many ways. One key dimension of building a great team is to cultivate a group with an array of thinking styles, experience, perspectives, and backgrounds. This is the source of all actions and decisions the team will take, and we want it to be a rich one.

Profound learning is a second important aspect of extraordinary teams. People have learning experiences that shape their lives individually and collectively-and that's not because they're talking all the time. No, they shut up and listen to what's going on around them. …

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