Great Team Work/Team Health: Five Dysfunctions (Patrick Lencioni)

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On February 14, 2012

What is the single greatest competitive edge you can give your business? Best-selling business author and speaker Patrick Lencioni maintains that it is not finance, strategy, or technology that gives a business the ultimate competitive edge. He claims that teamwork is what really gives one company an advantage over their competitors.

Lencioni likes to say, “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.” What a great concept! There’s only one problem: It’s darn hard to get everybody “rowing in the same direction.”

That’s what’s behind Lencioni’s business parable, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. It’s a great read that uses a fictitious company to probe and explore five things that can make or break any company’s competitive edge. Lencioni suggests that how companies deal with these five “dysfunctions” can make the difference between success and failure. The five areas he looks at are:

  • Trust
  • Conflict
  • Commitment
  • Accountability
  • Focus

What are you doing to build trust in your business? Have you learned to master conflict (because you know you can’t avoid it)? How do you achieve commitment or buy-in to your company’s goals and objectives? Do you and your team embrace accountability, or is there a lot of finger pointing going on? And are you focused on results, or do you get sidetracked by less important things?

As a leader, these are your challenges. Nobody else will step up to the plate to take these things on and make them happen. If you haven’t read Lencioni’s compelling and engaging book, I encourage you to get it. And I’d love to chat with you about specific, concrete steps you can take to turn these dysfunctions into strengths that will give you the competitive edge you need.

What’s the most challenging “dysfunction” your team faces right now?