Client Resource—The Five Disfunctions of a Team—great read and very helpful

I was recently meeting with Rob Sadowsky, one of our partner consultants with whom we work to deliver advanced curriculum design and instructional training methods for trainers and facilitators. He reminded me of the book: ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni, author and founder of the Table Group. I had first heard of the book a couple years ago from another client, but hadn’t had a chance to give it a read. I am so excited to have finally got the opportunity to read it!

Five Disfunctions of a Team Graphic

I’ve been working with varying leaders of organizations, businesses, and government agencies for just over 14 years, and believe that one of the biggest challenges faced by clients when they try to achieve strategy results is team disfunction, especially when looking at the executive team of organizations and companies,. Looking for ways to help our clients ensure the most success with the whole scale strategic planning we facilitate is always on my radar. I have been working with teams for quite some time, and I felt the author did a great job of describing how to build a team that is both strong and results-oriented, something needed to increase success with the implementation of the company’s strategy. Funny enough, this comment which I am borrowing from Amazon does a great job of summing up some of the great concepts:

The model consists of a pyramid with the five dysfunctions of a team (from the bottom, up):

  1. Absence of trust: stemming from an unwillingness in the team members to be vulnerable and genuinely open up with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses.
  2. Fear of conflict: inability to engage in unfiltered, passionate (yet constructive, though it may strike you as odd) debate.
  3. Lack of commitment: no buy in and commitment can be expected when ideas and opinions have not been aired and genuinely taken into consideration prior to a decision.
  4. Avoidance of accountability: without commitment to a clearly defined set of goals, team members will hesitate to call their colleagues on their actions and behaviors that are counterproductive for the team.
  5. Inattention to results: Lencioni brings it all home through the realization that avoidance of accountability leads to a state where team members tend to put their individual needs above the team’s collective goals.

Throughout the last leg of his book, Lencioni contrasts how dysfunctional teams behave by comparing them to a cohesive team in the case of each of the five dysfunctions. He also provides suggestions on overcoming each of the dysfunctions and insights into the role of the leader in this process, all in a very structured and to-the-point way.


What I personally love about this book, and the author’s model, is it supports our work with our clients, to urge them to utilize these concepts within their own company or organization, which, in turn, helps to strengthen strategic implementation for our clients. The author has even released a field guide, which I bet would be helpful, though I haven’t had a chance to review yet. Thank you to the Table Group and the author for producing this valuable resource.


For more information on strategic planning and organization development services that will help your organization or company take strategic action in 2014, be sure to contact S & G endeavors.

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