Five Dysfunctions of a Team
In seeking to increase growth and profitability, the focus is often on sales, marketing, new technologies, pricing, customer service, operations efficiency and financial management.
These are obviously important. However, my experience in business management and working with security installers shows there is another key ingredient in business success - teamwork.
I recently read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by the renowned author Patrick Lencioni who turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams.
Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions that are at the very heart of why teams — even the best ones — often struggle. Two critical truths are clear.
First, genuine teamwork in most organizations remains as elusive as it has ever been.
Second, organizations fail to achieve teamwork because they unknowingly fall prey to five natural but dangerous pitfalls, which are referred to as the five dysfunctions of a team.
These dysfunctions can be mistakenly interpreted as five distinct issues that can be addressed in isolation from the others. But in reality they form an interrelated model, making weakness in even one of them very dangerous for the success of a team. An overview of each dysfunction should make this clear.
- Absence of Trust
- Fear of Conflict
- Lack of commitment
- Avoidance of accountability
- Inattention to results
Like a chain with just one link broken, teamwork deteriorates if even a single dysfunction is allowed to flourish.
The reality remains that teamwork ultimately comes down to practicing a small set of principles over a long period of time. Success is not a matter of mastering theory, but rather of embracing common sense with uncommon levels of discipline and persistence.
Ironically, teams succeed because they are exceedingly human. By acknowledging their imperfections, members of functional teams overcome their natural tendencies that make trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and a focus on results so elusive.
The first step towards addressing the dysfunctions is to assess if you are a high performing management team or if in reality you are a dysfunctional team. Score your management team, out 10, against the 5 dysfunctions above to assess your current reality.
If you are more dysfunctional than high performing, ask “How can we turn this around?” Lencioni outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team. I will share these practical suggestions in my next article.