You First by Liane Davey



“No team should be without this book!
Adrian Gostick, New York Times bestselling author, The Carrot Principle

Are You Bringing You Full Value to Your Team?

You First is for everyone who struggles every day with the tensions, frictions, and frustrations of working on teams.  (As far as I can tell, that’s everyone because teamwork is hard work.)  In the book, I reject the idea that your team leader will, or even can, change your team.  I implore you not to wait for a facilitator to attempt a breakthrough at the top of a ropes course.  Instead, I show you how you can do the simple (but hard) things every day to change your team for the better.

If you are even contemplating inspiring a change on your team: You First provides motivation for why you should try, practical tips for how to do it, and a series of diagnostics to see how you’re doing.


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See what people are saying about You First

Bringing together a team in a very short period of time has its own unique challenges. And with thousands of athletes from around the world counting on us to create an exceptional game, we have to get it right. You First provides exactly what we need to make that happen. I recommend this book for anyone who has to make their team work.

Ian Troop

Chief Executive Officer, TORONTO 2015 | Pan American/Parapan American Games Organizing Committee

You First is just what the doctor ordered—an Rx for teams that upends old thinking and offers a new antidote to dysfunctional teamwork everywhere. No team should be without this book!

Adrian Gostick

New York Times bestselling author, The Carrot Principle

Finally, a book about building teams that gives clear, actionable, and relevant advice that does not involve trust falls. Collaboration is the wave of the future in every industry, and Dr. Davey gives you the tools to thrive in team-based environments.

Pamela Slim

Business Coach and Author, Escape from Cubicle Nation

You First offers smart thinking on what it takes for teams to be successful and that is reason enough to read it. But Liane’s writing is so accessible that you’ll feel like you’re having a session with your own personal team advisor.

Stew Friedman

Practice Professor of Management, The Wharton School

You First: Diagnostic & Health Check Tools

Chapter 3 Diagnostic: The Crisis Junkie Team

Your team won’t just wake up one morning with an extreme Crisis Junkie problem. The early signs of a problem might surface long before the effects become critical. Use this simple diagnostic test to see the level of risk on your team.

Chapter 4 Diagnostic: The Bobble Head Team

It can be tough to tell if you’re on a Bobble Head team, because all teams do need some group cohesiveness to be effective. Use this diagnostic to find out if your team is sailing happily into the sunset or if you’re heading for a cliff.

Chapter 5 Diagnostic: The Spectator Team

If you have trust and confidence in your teammates and you don’t chime in on every single issue that comes up, there’s no need to call 911. But if your name hasn’t shown up on the meeting minutes since 2010, you might start to get worried. Use this quik diagnostic to see if a Spectator problem might be brewing on your team.

Chapter 6 Diagnostic: The Bleeding Back Team

Recognizing a Bleeding Back team requires a combination of good watching and listening with a good dose of intuition. If you just listen, you won’t usually hear a problem. It’s when the actual results and actions of the team don’t line up with what is being said that you can start to see through a Bleeding Back problem. Use this diagnostic to assess the level of risk on your team.

Chapter 7 Diagnostic: The Royal Rumble Team

It doesn’t exactly take sensitive instruments to detect a full-fledged Royal Rumble problem on your team. In fact, a decibel meter in the room would probably do the trick. But if your problem is just starting to brew, you might pick it up with some of the warning signs in this diagnostic test.

Chapter 9 Health Check: Start with a Positive Assumption

Once you have been practicing Starting with a Positive Assumption for a little while, take this test to evaluate how you’re doing.

Chapter 10 Health Check: Are You Adding Your Full Value?

If you turned off the autopilot and started to live up to your responsibility to Add Your Full Value, you should be contributing in the different ways detailed in this test. See how it adds up.

Chapter 11 Health: Are You Amplifying Other Voices?

If you have taken your responsibility to Amplify Other Voices seriously, you should be able to check off the items in this test with a clear conscience. How are you doing?

Chapter 12 Health Check: Do You Know When to Say “No?”

If you are fighting the urge to say “yes” and getting comfortable with your responsibility to Know When to Say “No,” you’re supposed to say “yes” to the points in this test. How are you doing?

Chapter 13 Health Check: Are You Embracing Productive Conflict?

If you are getting comfortable being uncomfortable, you shouldn’t feel conflicted about the items in this test. How are you doing?