Get to Know the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

Get to Know the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

THE FOLLOWING IS A TRANSCRIPT OF MELTON’S VIDEO “Get to Know 5 Dysfunctions of a Team”:

Hi, I’m Tom Melton helping you on a path to better. Today we’re taking a look at different ways for us to be better leaders of our lives or families or organizations. I want to look at kind of the way that an organization is built and what are some of the things that help you be a strong organization and things that kind of hinder it from being strong.

The primary model that I use and I’m going to discuss today is based on Patrick Lencioni’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

The big idea is that we’re talking about an organization as a team and by the way that’s an important distinction. A team
is not just a group of people. If you have five people on your staff that isn’t necessarily a team. Lencioni’s focus and my focus in a path to better is how do we build a team and how do we make it so that it works and makes it healthy.

Lencioni has five pieces to that and he kind of thinks of in terms of a pyramid. And as you see a pyramid begins building wider and deeper on the base. Much like if you’re building a building, you first build a foundation and if the foundation is good, then you can go to the next step. But it’s not like they’re not related. You don’t just build a foundation and end there. If you’re going to build a building, you want to have all the pieces but it does matter the order.

So for Lencioni, the first piece of that pyramid is what he calls trust, but it’s not just trust in general. It’s what he
calls vulnerability trust and in vulnerability trust it means that you are able and the people on your team are able to say what they’re really thinking. One of the overriding principles of this and why you would even want a team as
opposed to just a bunch of people is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 

Most of us operate even if we have a bunch of people as if the whole is the sum of its parts, but the reality is how do you get more from a team than you do just five people. Well he is saying that the basis is you build on trust. If you don’t have trust as Stephen Covey’s says in his book Speed of Trust that things operate at the speed of trust – the less trust the longer it takes, the more it costs. Same with an organization.

So what does vulnerability trust look like? Well if I come to a meeting and we’re going to talk about the direction of our new business venture and I say an idea and I’m shut down or through body language or some means the message is
shut up we don’t care what you’re saying or if it’s held against you and you typically it’s not that overt it’ll just be subtle well in the mind you think “Well I’m not going to listen to that guy”. So therefore I’m not going to engage any further which takes us to the next a part of the pyramid.

Without the ability to say what you’re really thinking safely then you aren’t going to have a healthy conflict. And healthy conflict is conflict around ideas not around personalities – around people. A lot of groups have conflict but they tend to be around personality so therefore you don’t get the best out of your people. You don’t get the best out of the team

When you have healthy conflict, that leads to the third piece which is commitment. If I don’t think you really care what I’m saying or what I’m thinking and even if I do and then we can’t have conflict because the leader and this often takes place. The leader brings his own stuff into it and says well then you don’t get the benefit of that and as a result of that you don’t get commitment. So now I’m not all in because I’m holding back. I’m not gonna say what I really think. I’ll do it politically when it’s correct. So you don’t get commitment from them.

We all often see about a team here in Denver – the Denver Broncos. They are an example when they talk about having one focus and one commitment to each other and when we have that, it brings us to the fourth element and that’s accountability.

Accountability is when you’re all trusting each other that you can say what you believe when you have healthy conflict that you work through, you don’t hold it against each other. Most often when we talk about accountability, we think it’s the boss’s job. Why didn’t the boss or the supervisor hold them accountable? The systems are designed to be accountable. Well, in a team we hold each other accountable; we’re all in it together.

That leads to the final piece which is imperative. We get results.

The reason that a team plays football is to win. The reason that your company is operating – you ought to be clear about what are the results – what are we trying to do. If we don’t, if we’re not clear on that then these things get diminished. But we can be very clear on this. 

This is imperative that we understand this if you’re going to be leading a team or an organization; you need to understand how it works.

encourage you to ask yourself how safe are you as a leader when you are leading a team. Ask yourself, when I say something do I get the feedback last week we talked about – the Emperor’s clothing – and the idea that you need to have feedback in order to grow. Are you building vulnerability trust and by the way vulnerability trust does not come
without you as the leader being vulnerable. I encourage you to take a look at this try it on see what it looks like. Practice it and take the path to better.