Saturday, July 21, 2007

five dysfunctions of a team

I have just finished reading Pat Lencioni's The FIVE Dysfunctions of a TEAM. Lencioni addresses the issue of how and why teams don't work through the use of a fictional story of a Silicon Valley startup. It's an easy read... but he nails five key dysfunctions [can a dysfuntion be "key"?]

As I reflect on teams I have been part of, one or more of these five have certainly been part of any dysfunction. Here are the five [taken from an article on Lencioni's web site.]
Dysfunction #1: Absence of Trust
This occurs when team members are reluctant to be vulnerable with one another and are unwilling to admit their mistakes, weaknesses or needs for help. Without a certain comfort level among team members, a foundation of trust is impossible.

Dysfunction #2: Fear of Conflict
Teams that are lacking on trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered, passionate debate about key issues, causing situations where team conflict can easily turn into veiled discussions and back channel comments. In a work setting where team members do not openly air their opinions, inferior decisions are the result.

Dysfunction #3: Lack of Commitment
Without conflict, it is difficult for team members to commit to decisions, creating an environment where ambiguity prevails. Lack of direction and commitment can make employees, particularly star employees, disgruntled.

Dysfunction #4: Avoidance of Accountability
When teams don't commit to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven individuals hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that may seem counterproductive to the overall good of the team.

Dysfunction #5: Inattention to Results
Team members naturally tend to put their own needs (ego, career development, recognition, etc.) ahead of the collective goals of the team when individuals aren't held accountable. If a team has lost sight of the need for achievement, the business ultimately suffers.

I'd say that if you lead a team, this should be a high priority read.

1 comment:

nadine said...

Hmm. Do you think my boss would be offended if I bought him a book? With every chapter highlighted?