Monday, September 17, 2007

Patrick Lencioni's Dysfunctions of Team - Pillars of Success

I have used Patrick Lencioni's model of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team to great success in helping young leaders understand the challenges of bringing a team together. Lencioni's book starts by stressing the five critical dysfunctions that teams have to avoid and presents them in a hierarchical fashion.

Using Lencioni's model, we can say that:
  1. Teams have to begin by building trust in each other and the leader.
  2. Then you must have a team that can discuss conflict openly.
  3. The third pillar is for everyone to be fully committed.
  4. The forth is the need for everyone to accept accountability for their role.
  5. Finally, there has to be an attention to getting results.
I take groups through the positive side of that model.. So I call it:

The Five Pillars of a Strong Team.

While I still think very highly of Lenconi's model and will continue to teach it, I still feel it can be enhanced further. In teaching this, I have often noticed that the first two seem to have so much more impact on learners. I have recently been toying with how I might improve on the final three pillars. With that in mind, I would love your input on the following variation on Lencioni's model:

  1. The first pillar to team success is to create an environment trust. The lack of trust in the team can derail them regardless of whether the other pillars are in place.
  2. The second pillar is a open environment where all can share their views without fear of conflict. I teach this as a environment that is interested in learning about both sides of every decision. This pillar is fully grounded in the Learning Organization movement.
  3. The third pillar relates to how significant is the cause. Lencoini's stresses that team members have to be committed to the cause. This is true, but more significant in this is the significance of the cause. The more significant they view the cause, the greater their commitment will be. For this reason, I have changed this pillar to "Finding a meaningful and greater-than-self outcome to work toward."
  4. The forth pillar based on Lencoini's model is all about taking personal accountability. I have modified it to be "Identifying Your Contribution to Achieving a Meaningful Outcome you could not Achieve Alone."
  5. The fifth pillar is all about measurement. One of the best outcomes of the past 20 years has been the concept of scorecards. Tools that help teams know if they are achieving the outcome they are striving for. Take Toyota.. I am sure they have been gunning to be the biggest car maker for many years.. I am willing to bet that each team in Toyota down to the line where they put the camry together are measuring success toward some outcome. How fast do we put it together, how safe were we this year, how many failures did we have.. all meaningful outcomes for that team. the fifth pillar is still tough to lay out in one sentence.. "Do you seek the truth and aggressively pursue the data that tells you (measure) if your team is on the path to success or failure."
I would love your input. I am still evaluating this approach and I have also begun to wonder if there is a pillar or two missing..

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