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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A…

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (2002)

by Patrick Lencioni

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Leadership Fables

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
I thought the fictional company was a genius move, a way of incorporating business theory and applying it to a situation that we can easily understand, and be invested in. I've known nearly every type of personality that Lencioni constructs and I couldn't believe how interested in the story I was. It forced me to look back at all the successful teams I've been apart of, and all the terrible teams I've been a part of and it's remarkable how true the book's lessons are and how they apply to all types of organizations in real life. Terrific! ( )
  hskey | Jun 14, 2018 |
A good, quick analysis of the five major negative behaviors that degrade the performance of a team. The notion is introduced that we all have primary and secondary teams.; and we can loosely apply this thinking to community segmentation in the OPEN world.
  open-leadership | Jan 24, 2018 |
Loved the fable style writing. At the end of the day trust and basic like-ability amongst team members can make work so much fun and everyone feels accountable with a common purpose. But, unless leaders think in this manner it does not permeate throughout the group. A must read for good leadership lessons. ( )
  ArchanaV | Jul 16, 2017 |
This is my second assigned reading for a year-long management seminar. Less intellectually offensive than the first (a Ken Blanchard classic), it still suffers from trying to be the smartest book in the room. The subject is yet another one that is intuitively obvious to me, but that's because I've been building teams for 30 years.

In case it's not clear, I'm not a fan of these "fable" formats, but this was easy to read. The too-pat setups were there, but done well enough as to mostly overlook how obvious they are. Lenconi is selling a product, so can't see the problems with his "this is the way it is" presentation, but as with most of these self-help business books, there are nuggets to mine and toss in the mental toolbox. I liked it better than most I've read (obvious in retrospect because my critical notations were fewer than similar books.) ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Effective leadership techniques and methods are shown throughout Patrick Lencioni’s book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. In this blog I am going to analyze and assess a few big leadership techniques and methods that our book’s leader Kathryn Peterson puts into play.
To quickly provide some context; at the very beginning of the book a startup tech company is coming down from its “first few euphoric months of existence”. People are leaving the company and deadlines are slipping. The company desperately seeks a solution.
Enter our leader Kathryn Peterson.
You come to find that the hiring team perceives Kathryn as a blue-collarish executive. Which is exactly what they aren’t looking for in a manager, she’s old, she has no real high-tech experience, and she doesn’t fit the culture, but in the end she gets the position because of her “amazing gift for building teams”.
I would like to focus on how Kathryn uses various leadership techniques to tackle the problems ahead of her and whether or not those techniques were correct in the given situation.
The first technique I would like to discuss starts with Kathryn’s decision to take no action for two weeks after being hired. The company is in dire straits and the leader appointed to fix it all is doing nothing for two whole weeks.
Here’s the catch.
She isn’t just doing nothing. Our new leader is walking the halls talking with employees, observing as many meetings as she can, and all while taking notes. These aren’t notes on just the content of the conversations and meetings. These are notes about the culture and daily practices of the leaders and employees. Kathryn is identifying critical alliances within the organization, getting a feel for the culture in the company, and starting to formulate her vision for the direction she needs to take her team to make the company successful.
This is not a new technique. Many leaders upon taking a new leadership position take the time to learn the daily happenings of a company before acting. You don’t build a fence by just randomly digging holes in the ground. You need to plan where those holes go and how you’re going to get them there.
I think Kathryn’s decision to assess the situation before diving headfirst is an excellent choice and a sign of effective leadership. It shows that she is a planner who likes to get all the facts before diving in, which is a key quality for effective leadership.
On to our second situation.
Near the end of the first off-site meeting the team gets a chance to establish an overarching goal for the rest of the year. The problem though, is that the team has no idea how to narrow a choice down to something they all can agree upon. This has been a challenge for them since the beginning and is one clear sign of a dysfunctional team.
Kathryn starts off by letting the team know exactly what they are going to accomplish as well as reassuring them that they can accomplish this. “We are going to establish something I call our overarching goal for the rest of the year. There is no reason that we can’t do this now, right here, today. Someone take a stab”.
Through the discussion Kathryn steers the conversation in various ways. For example, telling the other team members to “take them on” when Nick and JR suggest market share to be the goal, or “This is the most productive conversation I’ve heard since I’ve been here. Keep going”.
In doing so I believe Kathryn is steering the team into setting specific goals, measureable goals, and attainable goals. Those three things are key for a leader to produce. Specific goals are clear and well defined, they leave out and vague or generalizations. Measureable goals give you something to measure your degree of success. Lastly, attainable goals make it so in the end you add morale and confidence to your team instead of setting the bar impossibly high it demoralizes them and takes away their confidence.
At the end of the meeting the team is amazed that they could actually define and agree upon a realistic goal, creating a more functional team. As JR said “We accomplished a lot here, and getting clarity around our major goal is really going to help”.
The last example of an effective leadership situation I would like to talk about is how Kathryn handled letting Mikey, the marketing executive, go from the company.
Kathryn demonstrated effective leadership in the face of one of the most difficult things a leader can do; firing someone.
She didn’t drag her feet by immediately after the meeting asking Mikey to stay and talk. Kathryn kept it short, showed compassion, and respect while also allowing Mikey to respond. “I don’t think you are a fit for this team. And I don’t think you really want to be here. Do you know where I’m coming from?” After laying out the evidence based reasons to let Mikey go, Kathryn was upfront in the next meeting with the rest of the team about what had just happened.
Not dragging your feet, keeping it short, showing compassion, talking to your team, and focusing on the future are the right ways for a leader to let someone go from a team and a company. Kathryn didn’t beat around the bush by making it a quick but thought out decision. She showed compassion with Mikey and with the rest of the team demonstrating her humanity. Nobody likes to see a coworker leave the company. Lastly, talking to the team and focusing on the future gives the team enough forward momentum to get back up to where they were.
In conclusion, Kathryn has put into play amazing and effective leadership throughout the book. I have only chosen a few select examples that I thought were important and I hope I have made it so you can, upon going back through the book, recognize the techniques and methods our uncertain leader uses to grow her dysfunctional team into a functional one. ( )
  Danhh | Feb 22, 2017 |
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Patrick Lencioniprimary authorall editionscalculated
Nobel, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0787960756, Hardcover)

Once again using an astutely written fictional tale to unambiguously but painlessly deliver some hard truths about critical business procedures, Patrick Lencioni targets group behavior in the final entry of his trilogy of corporate fables. And like those preceding it, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is an entertaining, quick read filled with useful information that will prove easy to digest and implement. This time, Lencioni weaves his lessons around the story of a troubled Silicon Valley firm and its unexpected choice for a new CEO: an old-school manager who had retired from a traditional manufacturing company two years earlier at age 55. Showing exactly how existing personnel failed to function as a unit, and precisely how the new boss worked to reestablish that essential conduct, the book's first part colorfully illustrates the ways that teamwork can elude even the most dedicated individuals--and be restored by an insightful leader. A second part offers details on Lencioni's "five dysfunctions" (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results), along with a questionnaire for readers to use in evaluating their own teams and specifics to help them understand and overcome these common shortcomings. Like the author's previous books, The Five Temptations of a CEO and Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, this is highly recommended. --Howard Rothman

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:03 -0400)

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After her first two weeks observing the problems at DecisionTech, Kathryn Petersen, its new CEO, had more than a few moments when she wondered if she should have taken the job. But Kathryn knew there was little chance she would have turned it down. After all, retirement had made her antsy, and nothing excited her more than a challenge. What she could not have known when she accepted the job, however, was just how dysfunctional her team was, and how team members would challenge her in ways that no one ever had before. In this book, the author turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams. Kathryn Petersen, DecisionTech's CEO, faces the ultimate leadership crisis: uniting a team that is in such disarray that it threatens to bring down the entire company. Will she succeed? Will she be fired? Will the company fail? The author's story serves as a timeless reminder that leadership requires as much courage as it does insight. Throughout the story, he reveals the five dysfunctions that go to the very heart of why teams, even the best ones, often struggle. He outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team.--Publisher information.… (more)

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