Editor's note: Joe Rydholm can be reached at joe@quirks.com.

I’ve been thinking a lot about teams lately. Not sports teams – after all, our local Minnesota professional squads have been paragons of futility for several years when it comes to advancing out of early playoff rounds (except for our WNBA team, which has four recent-ish championships to its credit; thank you, Lynx!) – but work teams. 

The pandemic showed us that teams and team members didn’t need to all be in the same (physical) place to succeed but in reading various articles about the awkward transition back to office-based work I’ve wondered about the effects of all of these fits and starts on insights teams.

From purely remote during the pandemic to hybrid to everyone mostly back in the office, I imagine it’s a struggle for managers to get the gang back together and working toward the same goals. If that resonates with you, I think the book “X-Teams: How to Build Teams That Lead, Innovate and Succeed” ($32; Harvard Business Review Press) might be worth investigating.

Originally published in 2007, the book was recently updated for our post-pandemic reality and reissued in August. Authors Deborah Ancona and Henrik Bresman are still professors at their same respective institutions – Ancona at MIT and Bresman at graduate business school INSEAD – but as they state in a new preface, the world is a vastly different place from when they assembled the first iteration of the book and, far from being obsolete, team-building skills are even more necessary today, given the dizzying pace of change and our often-disconnected workplace structures and systems.

Their definition of an x-team, in a nutshell, is that it is externally focused, with input coming from within and without (in other words, not insular); it has robust processes in place to enable team members to coordinate and execute their work; and it enforces and encourages timely...