Mike Finley

Mike Finley

Mike Finley is a professional communicator with 30 years of experience writing in every realm—print, broadcast, in-person and online.

As a journalist he specializes in stories about technology, organizations, and the human psyche. His writings on change, technology, and the future have appeared in more than 700 publications.

He has authored or co-authored over a dozen business books, including his award-winning collaboration with Harvey Robbins, Why Teams Don't Work , which won the 1995 Financial Times Global Business Book Award for best management book published in the Americas.

In the 1990s he was head writer for The Masters Forum, an executive education group based in Minneapolis, where he chronicled the ideas and insights of the world's most prominent change theorists.

For seven years Mike wrote a syndicated column on modern life, "Future Shoes," which plotted the shifting human edge of technology and change.

In the 2000s Mike took on healthcare, as web writer for the Minnesota Medical Association, where he ran an award-winning advocacy website dealing with such public health issues as tobacco, affordability, and health care reform.

In addition to, and as a complement to, his work in technology and business, Michael is a poet and storyteller with many titles.

The Accidental Leader
What to Do When You're Suddenly in Charge
by Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley
(Jossey-Bass, 2003)

It could happen today. You are called into the office, and the boss tells you that due to unforeseen circumstances, starting today you will be in charge of a team, a project, an office, a committee, or a business unit. Without any warning (or preparation on your part) you've become an accidental leader.

If you have been thrust into a position of sudden responsibility, you need The Accidental Leader. This book is a first aid kit that gives you the information and inspiration you need to:

  • Know what you bring to the challenge—your pluses and minuses
  • Define success and achieve it
  • Get other people on your side
  • Overcome your natural shortcomings
  • Get organized—right now
  • See through the apparent system to the culture within
  • Direct people and get them to act

The Accidental Leader is your lifeline to leadership success. It is filled with practical answers to the many leadership questions that you will face.

The New Why Teams Don't Work
What Goes Wrong and How to Make It Right
by Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley
(Berrett-Koehler, 2000)

The move to teams has largely failed, say Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley, mainly because teams themselves are failing to think through the human implications of teaming. The NEW Why Teams Dont Work is a handbook for team members and team leaders to maintain the highest possible level of team intelligencethe skills, attitudes, and emotional flexibility to get the most out of a teams inherent differences.

Describing what teams are really like, not how they ought to be, the book teaches people how to work together to make decisions, stay in budget, and achieve team goals. Robbins and Finley show, for instance, how to get hidden agendas on the table, clarify individual roles, learn what team members expect and want from each other, choose the right decision-making process, and much more.

Updated throughout, the book includes completely new material on team intelligence, team technology, collaboration vs. teamwork, team balance, teams at the top, the team of one, plus all new and updated examples.

Moving Beyond Competition and Collaboration
by Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley
(Businessweek Books/McGraw-Hill, 1998)

The award-winning authors of Why Teams Don't Work draw on ideas, lessons and examples from the worlds of current events, business history, psychology, anthropology, and the transcompetitive swarming of ants and bees to present a new trend in management style called transcompetition. Transcompetition combines the best tactics of business war and the new spirit of teamwork to encourage an alliance between individuals and organizations. With easy-to-follow guidelines for transforming your organizational style, the authors explain how to create and maintain a collaborative environment that hires the best and optimizes the rest.

The Accidental Leader

"...many nuggets of wisdom..."-- Professional Manager, May 2004

The New Why Teams Don't Work

"Why Teams Don't Work is that rarest of beasts: a book of truths."-- Jim Kane, Amazon.com

"Robbins and Finley' book about teams is a masterpiece of explanatory journalism."-- New Orleans Times Picayune

"In no one else's work, except Vallejo's, do I feel such overwhelming desire straining at the limits of words." -- Michael Cuddihy, editor, Ironwood

"Finley and Robbins set us on a compelling journey to teams success by helping us see and embrace the secrets we often hide from ourselves and our teammates." -- Richard J. Leider, author of The Power of Purpose and coauthor of Repacking Your Bags

"This is an immensely helpful book. Finley and Robbins show that the secret of great teams isnt found in buzzwords or gimmicks, but in bringing out the best in every individual. Their suggestions are compassionate, yet tough-minded and practical."-- Robert K. Cooper, Ph.D., author of The Performance Edge and Executive EQ

"Robbins and Finley are provocative writers the read is fast, funny, and highly stimulating."-- Business Book Review


Library Journal
Coauthors of Why Teams Don't Work, Robbins and Finley now tackle traditional concepts of competition vs. collaboration in business, offering as an alternative what they refer to as "transcompetition." Eschewing either end of the continuum, the authors attempt to define the right mix of competition and collaboration in today's radically changing business environment, with a heavy emphasis on the fields of anthropology, psychology, history, and biology. Their goal is to break the cycle of winning at all costs, or of suppressing the individual for the good of the group, while integrating the best of both approaches in an alliance between individuals and organizations. Examples of companies clearly representing these conflicting approaches abound here, but the idea of a transcompetitive organization is sadly lost in a mush of New Age ideas sorely in need of a point. Look to Margaret Wheatley's Leadership and the New Science (Berrett-Koehler, 1993) for a far better understanding of natural laws applied to organizations. Buy only on demand at larger public libraries.?-- Dale F. Farris, Groves, TXCopyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.Booklist Almost a decade ago, Robbins touted the advantages of teamwork and collaboration in Turf Wars: Moving from Competition to Collaboration (1990). Five years later, he and Finley acknowledged some of the barriers to collaboration in Why Teams Don't Work: What Went Wrong and How to Make It Right (1995). Now, the two propose a new management model that combines the best elements of both collaboration and competition. Robbins is a licensed clinical psychologist, and Finley is a business writer whose columns are carried by the Knight Ridder newspaper chain. They document the destructive effects of competition and the often ineffective results of collaboration. Using self-and organizational-assessment tools and examples from the corporate world, the authors show how to combine these two strategies to best advantage. This book is the second imprint in a new series from Business Week magazine, and Robbins and Finley utilize short, article-length chapters that reflect Business Week's journalistic style.-- David Rouse

"It will make you made, it will make you laugh, but above all, it will make you think... TransCompetition provides a blueprint for the successful organization of the future."-- Glenn M. Parker, Author of Cross-functional Teams: Working with Allies, Enemies and Other Strangers

"Absolutely mandatory reading before any other management book. This book will save readers many years of wasted effort. It will save some companies from extinction. That's an R.O.I. I strongly recommend."-- Stewart D. Saxe, International Partner, Baker & McKenzie