Book Review: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

In a recent post, we discussed creating a team and culture based around reliability. Reliability leads to consistency, stability, quality and most of all, happy customers. To follow up on this important topic, today we explore an incredible business book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni.

“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”

“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is truly an amazing book! A quick read with an extremely powerful message:

“It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare. A friend of mine, the founder of a company that grew to a billion dollars in annual revenue, best expressed the power of teamwork when he once told me, “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”

Check out this video from Patrick Lencioni explaining “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”:

Dysfunction at DecisionTech

Patrick Lencioni does an outstanding job by combining theory and fiction. “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” tells the story of a Silicon Valley company, DecisionTech, which is past the start up stage and entering year 2.

Unfortunately, the company finds itself severely struggling.

It lags behind the competition in spite of possessing better funding.

The company also boasts superior technology along with a more talented team of 150 employees.

Yet, morale runs extremely low. In addition, company goals and potential are not being met.

Thus the story describes the “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”.

The founder and CEO decides to take a demotion allowing new leadership to right the ship.

In response, the board of directors hires a new CEO, Kathryn, who hails from manufacturing.

As a tech industry outsider, Kathryn faces a massive challenge to turn the company around.

First, Kathryn immediately diagnoses the ailments of DecisionTech and puts an action plan in place to build the team.

However, Kathryn was not fully aware of how deep the dysfunction ran at DecisionTech.

“And that is where the rarity of teamwork comes into play. For all the attention that it has received over the years from scholars, coaches, teachers, and the media, teamwork is as elusive as it has ever been within most organizations. The fact remains that teams, because they are made up of imperfect human beings, are inherently dysfunctional.”

She then dives in to explain to her executive team “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

Identifying The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

According to Patrick Lencioni, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” consist of:

Absence of Trust

“Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

Fear of Conflict

“If we don’t trust one another, then we aren’t going to engage in open, constructive, ideological conflict. And we’ll just continue to preserve a sense of artificial harmony.”

Lack of Commitment

“…committing to a plan or a decision and getting everyone to clearly buy in to it. That is why conflict is so important.”

Avoidance of Accountability

“The enemy of accountability is ambiguity, and even when a team has initially committed to a plan or a set of behavioral standards, it is important to keep those agreements”

Inattention to Results

“As obvious as this dysfunction might seem at first glance, and as clear as it is that it must be avoided, it is important to note that many teams are simply not results focused. They do not live and breathe in order to achieve meaningful objectives, but rather merely to exist or survive. Unfortunately for these groups, no amount of trust, conflict, commitment, or accountability can compensate for a lack of desire to win.”

Lastly, Lencioni does an amazing job creating a page turning story explaining how to correct “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. For that reason, we strongly recommend downloading or picking up a copy today.

The Table Group

Author Patrick Lencioni founded of The Table Group, a consulting firm dedicated to creating Organizational Health.  Lencioni also authored 11 books which have sold over 5 million copies. In addition, his books have been translated into more than 30 languages.

The Wall Street Journal called Lencioni “one of the most in demand speakers in America.” Consequently, Lencioni writes articles for numerous publications including Harvard Business Review, Inc., Fortune, Fast Company, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek.

Wrapping It Up

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