Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable Indeed

To understand the dynamics of any type of team is critical, and Patrick Lencioni's book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, has used an illustrative example of a company that provides a rich canvas for a lesson in "team learning". Several illustrations are critical well beyond the fabled 5 Dysfunctions. It's really a prime example of how people can effectively sabotage success by missing critical elements of team behavior.
The 5 Dysfunctions include; an Absence of Trust, Fear of Conflict, Lack of Commitment, Avoidance of Accountability, and Inattention to Results. The storyline takes you into the executive suite as a new CEO comes in to take the reins. The issue is quickly getting to know the cast of characters and their unique personalities and business idiosyncrasies.
One of the key lessons is that many times a company's strongest and most productive worker can also be their biggest liability in trying to build a quality organization. When you simply allow yourself to pacify an egocentric type-A personality at the cost of the team... you frequently stunt the growth of the organization to the point of paralysis.
The book is quite effective in providing very illustrative examples of the challenges that await someone in search of creating a successfully functioning team. A second extremely valuable lesson is that it is as important to have a healthy atmosphere for discussion and even conflict, but even more important to understand how to turn that potential conflict into a mutually acceptable and agreed on mission for moving forward. This is a very good exercise in understanding the dynamic of true team interaction.

.... The Business Performance Detective

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