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I have experienced and witnessed the wonderful work of Elaine Yarbrough in the field of women’s leadership for the past fifteen years. She artfully articulates the dynamics at play for women leaders including the complexities of organizational life and larger societal trends. She integrates these perspectives to help women gain a deeper understanding of their leadership landscape and provides them with tools to navigate key challenges with greater effectiveness.

I particularly value how Elaine combines a no nonsense and practical approach with compassion and inspiration. When asked for help with certain scenarios, Elaine can zero in on the heart of the issue and provide advice that is spot on. Now that Lindsay Burr Singla has joined Elaine as a partner in The Yarbrough Group, important generational perspective has been added. The Yarbrough Group makes both individuals and organizations stronger.

Sara N. King

Principal Optimum Insights, Inc. and formerly Global Group Director with the Center for Creative Leadership

A grey-wash photo of two women listening to a person out of view. The woman on the left is dark-skinned with short dark curly hair, wearing a striped button up and standing near a desk chair. The woman on the right is light-skinned with collar-bone length light hair, seated with one hand under her chin.


There are many misconceptions about how to form and lead high performance teams.

One of them is:  get the best individuals, throw them together, and expect amazing innovation. From sports to business teams, we know that all-stars are almost always disappointing.

Another misconception:  just be clear about goals and somehow individuals will perform their best.

And likely the biggest mistake:  just talk about tasks, certainly never about relationships and personal response. Past and current research (for example, the current Google Aristotle project) proves all these assumptions wrong. Not only do you repel genius, you squash even mediocrity.


Exceptional results in any group moving toward a common goal require leaders to have an understanding of tasks AND relationships. The Genius Team model includes both and is a practical roadmap for leaders to guide their group through eight stages of development to sustained high performance.


  • Make sure everyone fits

  • Get the right roles

  • Build mutual trust

  • Guide full engagement

The leader of a Genius Team knows that with purposeful planning and excellent execution
you get exceptional results  -
that can only be sustained when you
pay attention to
healthy renewal.


  • develop a compelling vision

  • recognize the developmental stages

  • diagnose where the team is stuck

  • move members through the stages

  • reignite performance as team members change

  • recognize and leverage tensions in each stage

  • take action to ignite the genius of your teams

Not only do great leaders know how to guide teams through these stages, 
they know there are predictable polarities (tensions) to leverage in each stage. 
Such as individual AND group, diplomacy AND directness.

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