The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

The concepts were presented with a story line it was an easy read and what follows are the brief summary of the concepts minus the story line.  Please note that it would be easy to dismiss the five dysfunctions stated here as sheer ‘common sense’ but don’t we all agree ‘common sense’ is NOT so ‘common’.

The five dysfunctions are represented below as a pyramid and the first dysfunction starts at the bottom of the pyramid and gradually gives rise to the fifth dysfunction, which is at the top of the pyramid.

The Five Dysfunctions

Absence of Trust

Trust is the foundation on any significant relationships are built, nurtured and enriched. We could debate endlessly on what constitutes trust or the absence of it. In other words how do we measure ‘trust’ or the absence of ‘it’. It is not that hard but generally it is. It is simply the ability to state ‘look folks – I am s***wing up. Can you help me’. It is the ability to express vulnerability without any element of insecurity or prejudice. The absence of trust leads to the second dysfunction.

Fear of Conflict

Much progress in any kind of social setup depends on healthy debate on contrasting views. It is simply the ability to debate our ideas passionately and see reason in choosing one out of many ideas. Everyone one would probably recall the famous sequence in the movie ‘”Good, Bad, Ugly” “If you have to shoot, shoot. Do not talk”. The measure is simply to ask ourselves ‘Are we able to state what we really feel’ or ‘are we suppressing our emotions’? There has to be a ‘storm’ before the calm. The absence of conflict leads to the third dysfunction.

Lack of Commitment

Well it is the dreaded ‘C’ word. It is simply the ability to ‘deliver on our promises’. It could be as simple as coming to a meeting in the ‘stated’ time or as complex as meeting an important ‘Delivery Milestone’. The measure is simple. How many times we have answered directly ‘when asked’, ‘when something would be over’ and how many times have we stuck to what we have ‘stated’ if we did manage to state in the first place. We take so many things for granted in all spheres of life that even outside our professional space we do not stick to what we say.  The absence of commitment leads to the fourth dysfunction.

Avoidance of Accountability

Accountability or lack of it can be best explained by the story of ‘Everybody thought somebody’ will do it. I am not repeating that story here. It is simply the ability to ask our selves and our peers ‘why certain agreed upon thing was not done?’. The measure is ‘Do we even bother to ask our own selves or our peers’ when there is a failure to meet a stated ‘commitment’. The absence of accountability leads to the fifth dysfunction.

Inattention to Results

This is the stage where goal displacement and goal in-congruence occur. It is a stage where individual priorities have overridden team priorities and there is an absence of working towards realizing a ‘common goal’. At this stage teams are insensitive towards what could be termed as ‘Getting the rubber on the road’.

I hope the above gives an introduction to the well written book. The book has some interesting exercises that you can try out on your teams and you would be probably surprised with the results.

Get the real stuff  from the following link
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (J-B Lencioni Series)

Stay Tuned and Have Fun.

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