Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni is subtitled A Leadership Fable and the book introduction notes "it is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare."

Lencioni provides the dysfunctions through a fictional story of a newly hired CEO at a technology startup, and after completing the fable about the company and its management team goes over the dysfunctions and how teams can overcome them.

1. Absence of trust - Trust is the foundation of real teamwork. The first dysfunction is a failure on the part of team members to understand and open up to one another, overcoming their need for invulnerability and speaking openly and honestly about their strengths and weaknesses. Lencioni notes that a good way to tackle this is to have people talk about themselves, their background, their lives, and families.

2. Fear of conflict - If there's not trust, there's likely going to be an aversion on the part of team members to having open, constructive, ideological conflict or debate.

3. Lack of commitment - It's a failure to buy into decisions. People don't have to always agree with a decision, but they want to have their views heard and understood before they commit to something, especially if they not 100% behind at first. The concept to go for is disagree and commit.

4. Avoidance of accountability - Once there's clarity and buy-in, people can hold each other accountable.

5. Inattention to results - Status and ego can cause people to become focused on themselves and individual rather than team results. Part of having goals is to have them be simple enough to grasp, and specific enough to be actionable, like for instance adding a certain number of new customers in a certain time frame. Also noted was the statement that "politics is when people choose their words and actions based on how they want others to react rather than based on what they really think."

The flip side positive view of the model is that teams...
1. Trust one another
2. Engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas
3. Commit to decisions and plans of action
4. Hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans
5. Focus on the achievement of collective results