BOOK REVIEW: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
On the advice of an executive coach, when talking about improving teams he suggested reviewing the classic book by Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. The suggestion caused me to chuckle, my previous employer had handed out that book years ago as a nod toward team building. I devoured it right away, only to find it was clear no one in the company was learning from this text.
Like a couple of other seminal business books, this starts with an extensive fable of a dysfunctional executive team of a fictional Silicon Valley start up. The fable takes us through their documented under achievements, then lighting a fire, heavy lifting and the traction of the team. The fable helps put the core concepts of the book into a real-world setting to watch people react to the pains of moving an executive team into a cohesive unit.
Finally, the Five Dysfunctions are outlined for further analysis:
Absence of Trust
Fear of Conflict
Lack of Commitment
Avoidance of Accountability
Inattention to Results
Thinking over my extensive history of project work where teams are formed time and time again, every dysfunction carries a corresponding example. I know that feeling of the Absence of Trust on a team (something that is foundational to building a better team). That Fear of Conflict where no one can speak freely or bring their best self forward. The Lack of Commitment particularly by leadership guiding a team. With no accountability or focus on results, so much work by so many people sometimes appeared as a futile effort to prove a leader should be in place. What an exhausting way to work.
The starting point to working through these five dysfunctions is communication. The more clearly we can communicate with each other and recognize how each other needs communication to be received, the more quickly we can delve in and tackle one, two or possibly all of these dysfunctions plaguing a team. This quick read is required for any department or project leader frustrated with where there team is going (or not going!).
Want to take those next steps in moving your team forward? Contact me for a no-obligation assessment of your team and what they can do to move toward success.