What does a “good team” look like? How do you know if you are on a “bad team”? Teams are an integral component in many companies large and small. So what do you do when you are part of an ineffective team. THE FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM – A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni sheds light on this very important topic.
The storyline centers around a small technology company that just didn’t seem able to make the leap from a “good-to-great” company and couldn’t accept that they were no longer the “go-to” company. Only after key people started leaving, employee morale had deteriorated to an all time low, throwing people under the bus had become the norm and “Backstabbing among the executives had become an art” did the board of directors finally decide to stop the bleeding.
Kathryn Petersen highly skilled, highly capable, smart, with no computer software experience, and although she was an outsider she was hired as the new CEO. Her top priority was to “build an executive team that can make the company work.” Which meant she had to identify the obstacles that were preventing her team of highly paid and very experienced executives to course correct quickly. Kathryn faced and got a lot of pushback, but it didn’t stop her.
Using his engaging style of fable telling it reads more like a case study rather than a fable. While learning about the background of the team members, we learn about the obstacles than can derail and undermine the progress of a team and depending on what level of people make up the team it could have long-lasting negative repercussions.
Through the course of the book he shares a lot of practical, pertinent information that was identified in five key dysfunctions:
- “An ABSENCE OF TRUST” – Without trust a team cannot have honest feedback because they feel their opinion, expertise, etc. doesn’t matter. People “just need to be heard, and to know that their input was considered and responded to.” An Absence of Trust = Invulnerability.
- “FEAR OF CONFLICT” – Without a safe environment to “engage in passionate, unfiltered debate” you will end up with a tea of “yes” people who eventually check out of the process and view the meetings as a waste of time and not important. A Fear of Conflict = Artificial Harmony.
- “LACK OF COMMITMENT” – Without being able to unite on the decisions made even if you don’t agree with it, it’s just an exercise in futility. A Lack of Commitment = Ambiguity.
- “AVOIDANCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY” – Without being able to trust each other, when assignments are not done or late, the guilty party will not be confronted and is allowed to slide. People act as if they are walking on eggshells. An Avoidance of Accountability = Low Standards.
- “INATTENTION TO RESULTS” – Without remembering it’s about the collective goal, not the individual gain.” An Inattention to Results = Status and Ego.
THE FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM discusses and exposes the “all too-human behavioral tendencies that corrupt teams and breed dysfunctional politics within them.” These behaviors that can sabotage the very existence of a team, such as being thrown under the bus (not having someone’s back, causing someone to take the blame for something you’re responsible for and never owning up to it), leaking confidential or sensitive information to people outside the team.
Many of us either work with or are one of the people in book. However, Mr. Lencioni pushes the reader to go further, he challenges us to become absorbed and learn from it and embrace the strategies to resolve similar issues on your team and in your company.
THOUGHT for your SOUL:
- The first time you read this book it’s a life-changer, the second time is a game-changer.