Carlos Valdes-Dapena

A unique insight into corporate team building within a global giant.

Lessons from Mars challenges the prevailing orthodoxy of corporate team building and offers an alternative framework along with a set of tools and techniques. Based on the author's 20-plus years of experience working with teams and six years of research specifically on Mars teams, the book offers a unique view into this closely-held private company and how it has unlocked the power of collaboration.

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Lessons from Mars: How One Global Company Cracked the Code On High Performance Collaboration and Teamwork

In his book, Carlos takes a critical look at what passes for team building today and proposes a different way. Companies, consultants, teams, managers, and organizations who are looking for a stronger, healthier, more dynamic and engaged workplace may suspect the team building they are doing is not working, but they don’t yet know why. Lessons From Mars has answers. This book upends what people think they know about working in teams and team building. Whether readers agree or disagree with the premise of the book, it will become a must-read for anyone who wants to shift team and organizational performance or simply be a part of the conversation as the idea of how to work in teams changes.


“My career spans several areas of endeavor: the military to include a professorship in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the US Military Academy (West Point), an in-house leadership and organizational development consultant at IBM, and founder of my own consulting company.

Throughout these years, I have read widely, and I have never come across a more thorough or insightful book on collaboration—not even close.”

Jack Beach, Former Managing Leadership Strategy & Executive Leadership Development Programs, IBM  



LESSONS FROM MARS equips team leaders and team members at any organization with the ideas, research, and tools to reap the same benefits Valdes-Dapena and his own team delivered to Mars via the HPC Framework.

Written in an engaging, conversational style with easy-to-skim summaries at the end of each chapter, this game-changing guide to intentional teamwork offers today’s busy executives and employees a wealth of actionable concepts and insights:

  • The Three Imperatives that form the essential basis for the Framework: Clarity, Intentionality, and Discipline. Clarity is the soil, Intentionality is the seed, Discipline is the gardening.

  • Realizing the Three Imperatives via the Six Practices: Inspire Purpose, Crystallize Intent, Cultivate Collaboration, Activate Ways-of-working, Sustain & Renew, and Clarify Context.

  • How to tactically apply David McClelland’s famous Individual Motives Theory to leverage team member self-interest and make intentional collaboration an achievement to be pursued for its own sake.

  • Why collaboration is more expensive and complex than individual working, and should only take place when payoffs and benefits of collaboration are clear.

  • The Radar Screen: A visual map for quickly defining which team tasks and responsibilities call for total-team collaboration, which ones call for sub-group collaboration, and which ones call for the right individuals to handle them alone.

  • The right way to get the most out of popular psychometric instruments like Myers-Briggs (MBTI), FIRO-B, and others.

  • Which aspects of Bruce Tuckman’s classic Four Stages of Team Development (Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing) may still be relevant to today’s teams... and which are obsolete.

  • A reliable, consistent paradigm for team decision-making, including how to avoid the all-too-common pitfall of confusing consensus with unanimity.

  • A controversial re-examining of trust and its importance within a team: While dishonesty and similarly toxic behaviors can never be tolerated, shifting the focus from building trust to building courage is the highest-leverage way to mitigate mistrust and get everyone working together towards a common goal.




Carlos Valdes-Dapena’s generous sharing of the research-backed, field-tested method that worked for Mars, Inc. and can work for any organization seeking smarter, more intentional collaboration is sure to be a standout business book of 2018 and beyond.