Book Review – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
“After her first two weeks observing the problems at Decision Tech, Kathryn Petersen, its new CEO, had more than a few moments when she wondered if she should have taken the job.” And so begins the story of a technology company struggling to grow and find customers. Executives are not working together as a team, and the team is struggling to come to agreement on the necessary strategy to solve the problems. The team’s dynamics erodes into the blame game, and no one is willing to accept responsibility. Deadlines are missed and moral is deteriorating.
In Patrick Lencioni’s New York Times best-seller, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he walks you through a short and easy to read fable about a team’s struggles to work as a team, and how they used his five behaviors model to become an exceptional and effective team. Lencioni is the author of five nationally recognized books and CEO of The Table Group, a management consulting firm specializing in executive team development and organizational health.
Lencioni presents his case that for a CEO to get a team aligned and rowing in the same direction he/she needs to address five dysfunctions.
Absence of Trust – Vulnerability-based trust is the ability of team members to admit their weaknesses and to be vulnerable with each other. Teamwork begins by building vulnerability-based trust, and the only way to do that is to overcome our need to be right, strong and competent, so much that we are afraid to show any vulnerability. Trust requires team members to have enough confidence in each other that vulnerabilities will not be used against them by the team.
Fear of Conflict – Trust makes team conflict possible, and teams need productive conflict to grow. Healthy conflict means debating ideas without personal attacks while working to find the best solution. Teams that tend to avoid conflict often replace it with artificial harmony. As a result of people hold back their opinions and honest concerns because they fear reprisal or criticism. Healthy teams accept that conflict can be uncomfortable at times, but is a normal part of being part of an effective team.
Lack of Commitment – When there is productive conflict, teams can commit and buy-in to decisions. A lack of commitment results from not listening to all team member concerns before making a decision. “If they don’t weigh in, then they won’t buy-in.” In the end, not everyone needs to agree, but if everyone is listened to and understand each other’s point of view, then they will commit. Also, the team needs clarity to successfully commit to a decision. The team needs to avoid ambiguity, ending discussions with a clear understanding about what the top priorities are and how each team member will contribute to moving it forward.
Avoidance of Accountability – Without commitment, you cannot have accountability. In a cohesive team, members never let their teammates down and they are responsible for holding each other accountable. Accountability means the willingness of team members to remind one another when they are not living up to agreed-on performance.
Inattention to Results – Healthy teams are results oriented. When there is team accountability, team members will be more interested in the team’s results rather than their own individual interests. Leaders need to be absolutely clear about the results needed and they are responsible for keeping the team focused.
I would highly recommend Patrick Lencioni’s book to any leader that wants to increase the effectiveness of their leadership team. It provides an easy to understand and practical advice on building teamwork.
Albu Consulting is an Authorized Partner of The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team.
Albu Consulting is excited to announce the addition of a new service that will help build truly cohesive and effective Strategy Teams. This facilitated learning experience will tap into the skills and opinions of all Strategy Team members to make better decisions, achieve the strategy’s objectives faster, and stop wasting time and energy on destructive conflict.
Our partner, John Wiley & Sons, is a global research company that created the assessment-based learning process grounded in the team building model described in the internationally best-selling leadership fable by Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. The assessment is powered by Everything DiSC, an industry leading tool that helps individuals understand their personality styles and the personality styles of other team members.
Watch this video to learn more: Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Introduction.