From Cat Herding to Leadership


This e-book was written as a resource guide for a two-day Master Leadership Class delivered by Steve Zuieback and Michael Grinder. The class and e-book walk you through the frameworks, tools, and processes developed over 35 years by the authors. Starting off with the Performance Continuum framework and then moving into diagnosing the types of group dynamics, the book provides you with the knowledge, processes and tools to move from Cat Herding to Leading powerful high functioning teams.

Performance Continuum

In my training programs I am frequently asked about how to deal with dysfunctional behaviors and group dynamics. The following is a short list of the most common dynamics I get asked about. They are normally presented to me as, “How do I deal with…….

  1. no participation in a team?
  2. people are complacent with the status quo?
  3. frustration with one or more people in a group by the majority of the group?
  4. a leader who is the problem?
  5. a team resistant to new strategies and approaches?
  6. lack of motivation in a team to try new strategies?
  7. long negative history that gets in the way of doing business?
  8. a team that is not capable of the task before them?
  9. strongly held positions by individuals or cliques?
  10. members of a team who aren’t pulling their weight?
  11. people who believe that solutions are outside their control?

As you can see from this list, some of these dynamics have to deal with an individual, some are about whole team dynamics and some have their roots in the culture of the broader organization. Many people experience working with groups akin to herding cats. In an attempt to have a systematic approach to understanding and then responding to these concerns, I developed the Performance Continuum.

The Continuum lays out a sequence of variable that a leader needs to go through in order to assess how to move their team to higher levels of performance.

  1. Observational Indicators - Diagnosis
  2. Leader's Role
  3. Task Duration
  4. Complexity of the Work
  5. Facilitative Process


How to use the Performance Continuum

  1. The first step for the leader is to determine where their team is based on the observational indicators.
  2. This determines the role they should play as leader
  3. The duration and complexity of the task
  4. This then directs the leader to determine the best process approach to take

When the leader accurately takes these actions, the group experiences greater success, leading to higher levels of performance!

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