Monday, September 5, 2011

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, Patrick Lencioni

"Extremely well designed model for team building. My preferred team development book for its impact!"

This is a typical Lencioni-style book, where most of the text is dedicated to a so-called fable, which illustrates both the problem and the solution the author wants to address. If you like the style, then you'll have a lot of reward because it's really easy and quick to read, to understand and to apply.
In this work, the author proposes a model to foster team work quality in several steps starting from the foundations of team work up to full focus on result.

Model / Concepts
The goal is to face the typical dysfunctions of a team from the bottom to build up a strong, cohesive team working together towards the result.
  1. Absence of trust - This is the first dysfunction, where people tend to hide their weaknesses and mistakes. To address that, one has to build a culture, where being open and human is natural and seen as positive.
  2. Fear of conflict - Debate and constructive conflict are the base of successful and committed decisions. A team has therefore to fight against the fear of conflict, which creates unconstructive artificial harmony.
  3. Lack of commitment - After constructive conflict, it is important to enforce clarity and closure thus avoiding ambiguity. Clear decisions help getting to commitment.
  4. Avoidance of accountability - When trust, positive debate, and commitment are achieved, a leader has to support accountability, which helps keeping high standards.
  5. Inattention to result - Finally, the team can concentrate on result and avoid destructive status and ego issues.
Well, the impact is huge!
It's quite easy to explain and promote the concepts.
Trust, constructive conflict and commitment, are also easy to apply and have a clear impact in the way the team works. Of course, you have to address all the fears both on a team level and for every team member on a one-on-one level, but then you can have substantial improvements in short time.
Avoidance of accountability is the most challenging dysfunction to address. Only people that trust each other and that don't fear conflict will have the courage to make their subordinate, pair or even superior accountable. This is a never ending work that brings also important benefits, but with more effort.

  • rating Amazon - 4.4/5.0 (346 reviews)
  • my rating - 5.0/5.0
  • fun factor - 4.5/5.0
  • simplicity - 5.0/5.0
  • impact - 5.0/5.0

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