Friday, June 13, 2008

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Bill Reichart on the Ministry Best Practices blog posted the following article today. I completely agree with Bill, Five Dysfunctions of a Team is one of the best books I have ever read. Basically anything by Patrick Lencioni is worth reading (Death By Meeting should be required reading in all grad schools, and Silos is pure gold too!), and if you get a chance to see the man speak do what it takes to get there, he's that good.


Years ago I read Patrick Lencioni's small, yet powerful, book - Five Dysfunctions of a Team. The book does a great job as summarizing the dysfunctions that a team often faces. At Big Creek Church, we attempt to do everything within a team context, therefore this book has a direct application to everything we are attempting to do.

If it's been a long time since you've read it - here is a nice summary. If you have never read the book, I would encourage you to go ahead and pick up a copy.

1. The first dysfunction is an absence of trust among team members. Essentially, this stems from their unwillingness to be vulnerable within the group. Team members who are not genuinely open with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation of trust.

2. This failure to build trust is damaging because it sets the tone for the second dysfunction: fear of conflict. Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas. Instead, they resort to veiled discussions and guarded comments.

3. A lack of healthy conflict is a problem because it ensures the third dysfunction of a team: lack of commitment. Without having aired their opinions in the course of passionate and open debate, team members rarely, if ever, buy in and commit to decisions, though they my feign agreement during meetings.

4. Because of this lack of real commitment and buy-in, team members develop an avoidance of accountability, the fourth dysfunction. Without committing to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven people often hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counterproductive to the good of the team.

5. Failure to hold one another accountable creates an environment where the fifth dysfunction can thrive. Inattention to results occurs when team members put their individual needs (such as ego, career development, or recognition) or even the needs of their divisions above the collective goals of the team.

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