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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team By Patrick Lencioni. Leadership Team Book Review. Overview. The author uses a leadership fable to address the complexity of teams. The fable reveals the five dysfunctions that may cause teams to struggle. Review of the Fable Analysis of the Model

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Presentation Transcript
  • The author uses a leadership fable to address the complexity of teams.
  • The fable reveals the five dysfunctions that may cause teams to struggle.
  • Review of the Fable
  • Analysis of the Model
  • Application of the Model
the fable setup
The Fable: Setup
  • Decision Tech had:
    • Executive team talent
    • More resources
    • Better core technology

yet underperformed its competition due to team dysfunction.

  • The fable is told from the perspective of Kathryn, the CEO that is hired to turn the company around.
  • Stereotype team members expose the human flaws and dynamics that undermine teams.
symptoms of problems at decision tech
Symptoms of Problems at Decision Tech
  • Critical deadlines slipped
  • Turnover of key employees
  • Low morale
  • Political environment
  • Dull, ineffective meetings: tense, no arguments or hostility, no decisions were made, things did not get done.
katheryn new ceo
Katheryn: New CEO
  • Industry outsider with no high tech experience.
  • Non stellar pedigree:
    • Earned a 3 year business school diploma
    • Performed stints in military, teaching, and manufacturing.
  • Blueish collar executive
  • Old (57 years)
  • Katheryn did not fit the Silicon Valley executive stereotype.
  • Disciplined, tenacious, had a winning spirit
  • If she can build teams, then anyone can apply these team building principles.
the model
The Model

Inattention to Results

Avoidance of Accountability

Lack of Commitment

Fear of Conflict

Absence of Trust

absence of trust
Absence of Trust
  • Stems from unwillingness to be vulnerable about weaknesses or mistakes.
  • Invulnerability make it impossible to build a foundation of trust.
  • Employees must get comfortable being vulnerable around each other.
    • No retribution
    • Minimizes politics
    • Requires turning off competitive instincts
    • Morale on distrusting teams is low; turnover is high.
teams with absence of trust
Teams with Absence of Trust
  • Conceal weaknesses
  • Hesitate to ask for help, or to give help
  • Dread meetings and avoid spending time together
  • Jump to conclusions about intentions.
  • Fail to tap into other’s skills and experiences.
suggestions for improving trust
Suggestions for Improving Trust
  • Normally earned slowly through shared experiences.
  • Jump start by:
    • Personal Histories Exercise
    • Team Effectiveness Exercise
    • Personality and Behavioral Preferences Exercise (Meyers Briggs Type Indicator)
    • 360 Feedback (Divorce from compensation.)
    • Experiential Team Exercises
fear of conflict
Fear of Conflict
  • Artificial Harmony
  • Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas.
  • Resort to veiled discussions, guarded comments, and politics.
  • Constructive conflict clarifies issues.
  • Lack of healthy conflict, leads to the third dysfunction.
teams that fear conflict
Teams that Fear Conflict
  • Have boring meetings
  • Create environments where back channel politics and personal attacks thrive
  • Ignore controversial topics that are critical to team success.
  • Fail to tap into all the opinions and perspectives of the team members.
  • Waste time and energy with posturing and interpersonal risk management.
suggestions for improving fear of conflict
Suggestions for Improving Fear of Conflict
  • Recognize the need for constructive conflict.
  • Mining for conflict
    • Dig and extract buried disagreements.
  • Real Time Permission
    • Recognize when the level of discord is uncomfortable interrupt and ask if them if it is necessary.
  • Leader should avoid premature termination of conflict and allow natural resolution.
lack of commitment
Lack of Commitment
  • Ambiguity
  • Without having aired opinions, team members rarely buy in and commit to decisions.
  • Agreement may be feigned.
  • Avoid consensus. Instead: disagree and commit.
a team that fails to commit
A Team that Fails to Commit
  • Creates ambiguity among the team about direction and priorities
  • Watches windows of opportunity close due to excessive analysis and unnecessary delay
  • Breeds lack of confidence and fear of failure
  • Revisits discussions and decisions again and again
  • Encourage second-guessing among team members
suggestions for improving commitment
Suggestions for Improving Commitment
  • Cascading Messaging
    • Review what key decisions need to be communicated to employees.
    • During this review decisions and actions are clarified, and leaders are aligned.
  • Deadlines (intermediate and final)
  • Contingency and Worst Case Scenario Analysis
  • Low-Risk Exposure Therapy
    • Practice making team low-risk decisions after through discussions but little analysis. Then evaluate decision.
avoidance of accountability
Avoidance of Accountability
  • Low Standards
  • Without committing to a clear plan of action/objective, people hesitate to call peers on actions and behaviors that are counter productive to the good of the team.
a team that avoids accountability
A Team that Avoids Accountability
  • Creates resentment among team members who have different standards of performance.
  • Encourages mediocrity
  • Misses deadlines and key deliverables
  • Places undue burdens on the team leader as the sole source of discipline.
suggestions for improving accountability
Suggestions for Improving Accountability
  • Publication of Goals and Standards
    • Creation of clear measurable objectives (Ambiguity is the enemy.)
  • Hold Simple and Regular Progress Reviews
    • Adds structure
    • Teammates should communicate regarding peers’ progress.
  • Use Team Rewards Instead of Individual Rewards
    • Peers would be more likely to hold another accountable.
inattention to results
Inattention to Results
  • Placing self before team
    • Ego
    • Career Development
    • Recognition
    • Placing one’s division’s needs ahead of the collective goals of the team.
  • Need to do what is necessary to achieve the objective.
teams not focused on results
Teams Not Focused on Results
  • Stagnates/fails to grow
  • Rarely defeats competitors
  • Loses achievement-oriented employees
  • Encourages team members to focus on their own careers and individual goals
  • Is easily distracted
suggestions for improving results
Suggestions for Improving Results
  • Public Declaration of Results
    • Announce expectations of success
    • “We’ll do our best:” prepares one for failure.
  • Results-Based Rewards
    • Tie compensation to achievement of specific outcomes.
building the team
Building the Team
  • Annual planning meeting (3 day, off-site)
    • Strategic planning, succession planning, cascading messaging,
  • Quarterly staff meeting (2 day, off-site)
    • Financial, strategic, employee performance, key issue resolution, tactical issues, and cascading messaging
  • Weekly staff meeting (2 hours, on-site)
    • Goal progress, key activity review, cascading messaging
  • Ad hoc topical meeting (2 hours, on-site)
conclusion cohesive teams
Conclusion:Cohesive Teams
  • Trust one another
  • Engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas
  • Commit to decisions and plans of action
  • Hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans.
  • Focus on the achievements of collective results.


The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Patrick Lencioni

President of the Table Group