Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Our teaching of Patrick Lencioni’s principles from his iconic 2002 book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, is a bit of a hybrid. We believe marrying the principles discussed in Lencioni’s book with a Strengths-based lens allows today’s organizations to thrive better.

This is also our top-requested Team Learning from people just like you who feel exasperated and ready to throw their hands up. It has power in both strengthening a team, as well as getting rid of dysfunction.

Because we believe that teams and their leaders genuinely want to overcome dysfunctions and other negative teaming behaviors, we’ve created a Strengths-based version infused with Positive Psychology to move your teams into the desired development state. We believe it is the only Strengths-based version of Lencioni’s work in the marketplace. And the metrics on the inside of our website prove that teams need it.

The recent move to hybrid or remote teams from our pandemic indicate that we need teams working well, whether they meet face-to-face or meet remotely – especially if you need to overcome The Great Resignation or Quiet Quitting. Both of these phenomena have happened during Covid, due to the fact that people need to feel appreciated and overcome team problems. It is frustrating when teams lack the ability to “see” each other and can’t get past problematic interactions. We’re here to make your teaming abilities exceptional and get rid of problem areas inside your teams.

Possible Prerequisites for the Best Outcome: Some form of Gallup’s CliftonStrengths or BP10 knowledge, whether we have facilitated the learning, you have facilitated it yourselves, or another consultant has provided their knowledge. While these are “nice to have” measures, we can work around them if you haven’t had any Strengths knowledge.

We’ve heard from leaders that the most significant obstacle to their teams’ development is the lack of trust team members have in each other. This is no surprise: people are human; we make mistakes that push us to distrust (based on past experiences with a person) or mistrust (a feeling of uneasiness) other people. We don’t like to live like this, but experience has taught us that we are bound to let each other down in various ways.

The goal of our Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team development is to switch the focus of your teams from “one-upmanship” practices and to accomplishing your organization’s goals. Gallup estimates that approximately 30% of every employee’s day, every day, is spent on navigating company politics. What difference might it make if these behaviors went away?

How would it be if you could build trust at a fundamental level but then continue to sustain that level while adding additional layers of trust at every turn because you understand how your teammates are wired and the principles of getting rid of dysfunctional behavior? Yet even if we understand how each of us is wired, other things may get in the way.

These questions help us realize the extent of our thinking on team problems:

  • Do we have “vulnerability-based” trust with each other?
  • Does our team know the difference between “good” and “bad” conflict?
  • Does everyone on our team have buy-in and clarity (not consensus) surrounding issues?
  • Do all of our teammates hold each other accountable for their actions, behaviors, and goals?
  • Do our team members lack focus on our collective results?

You and your team will make significant headway toward busting all of the Five Dysfunctions as you:

  • Learn to trust each other
  • Master the art of disagreement
  • Fully commit to an agreed-upon plan of action
  • Hold yourself and others accountable for tasks, agreed-upon good conflict behaviors, and achieving the team’s goals.
  • Focus on the collective results of the team

Some of the Results we’ve achieved for our clients:

  • Your teams start to look for behaviors among team members that detract from their collaboration and cohesiveness as a team – and bring up the behaviors, circumstances, and feelings with each other inside meetings so they can fix them together. At the same time team members come up with solutions to fix the problems.

  • Your team becomes much more adept at addressing the behaviors in a respectful and honoring manner that moves the team forward and away from the destructive behaviors.

  • As collaborative and helpful behaviors become normalized among team members, your teams spend less time navigating through behavioral problems and more time on brainstorming processes and problem resolutions, and completing tasks.

  • Your team prioritizes their meetings to work on the most urgent matters first and foremost, assigning the best people to them with the appropriate Strengths to accomplish them.

  • Your team keeps track of important issues and the completion status of their associated tasks in a short 1-page scorecard that is reviewed in the first 5 minutes of every meeting.

  • Your team accomplishes their Thematic Goals within their co-created timetable, celebrates the team’s achievements, and moves on to the next goal – seamlessly.

  • Your teams continue to reap additional benefits as they streamline processes, review risks, resolve problems, and embrace collective decision-making.

  • Your team members become better partners for each other, looking at increasing brainstorming potential and collaborative problem-solving.

And all of this happens before, during, and after the achievement of their Thematic Goals, with the continued result that:

They bring these same skills into their next new team experience.

We’ve found that offering our initial 2-Day version of these workshops works best, with later “Check-Ins”. We don’t want to teach you how to heal your teams and then leave you alone to falter; this short-changes the effort and can cause your employees to distrust your motives even more. When employees feel that our involvement is the “flavor of the month” from their executives, they tend to sabotage the efforts after the consultant has left. In this case, it would be better not to have had workshops or learning in the first place than to be perceived as not in earnest for your teams’ good. We want you to succeed in your efforts to turn your teams around.

What works best is to understand your struggles, offer the learning that will help you heal, and then have continued involvement in your teams for a time to ensure that you are progressing well. Our main objective is to get you self-sufficient in addressing team problems safely as they arise, determine solutions, and then continue overcoming other problems as you go along.

Frankly, many teams have worked inside their dysfunctional behaviors with each other for so long that they need the concentrated time to unwind the behaviors before moving into team development. For this reason, we usually work with our clients anywhere from six months to a year or more – we become your team development partner and a valued extension of your organization. There is nothing we like hearing more from our clients than we have fixed major team problems, and have gotten you ready for success.

Initial Two-Day Workshops:

Day 1

  • Benchmark your current team development levels on each dysfunction
  • Debrief your team on the assessment results
  • Understand the underlying principles
  • Begin dismantling misunderstandings
  • Create more cohesiveness among members in these Learning Modules:
    • Building Trust
    • Mastering Conflict

Day 2

  • Continue to dismantle misunderstandings and create more connected teams in these Learning Modules:
    • Achieving Commitment
    • Embracing Accountability
    • Focusing on Results
  • Determine the initial Thematic Goal for the next 3-12 months
  • Develop appropriate metrics for the Thematic Goal, along with their Defining Objectives and Standard Operating Objectives
  • Brainstorm the best persons to put in charge of accomplishing each objective through a Strengths evaluation and review of your team’s Team Grid
  • Learn how to create a “Live Meeting Agenda” Meeting and create a Scoreboard for achieving your Thematic Goal
  • Determine which three behaviors you will focus on for the next three months to develop your team
  • Conduct a secondary benchmark assessment as a post-workshop learning tool and use it to form the basis for the next three to six months of working together

Ongoing Checkups:

  • Every 3 to 6 months as determined by you, visit with the team for a 1-Day Workshop:
    • Understand how the last period of team behaviors went: What went well? What are still problem areas?
    • Determine any new problem areas that may have crept into the team
    • Review completion of the Thematic Goals, Defining Objectives, and Standard Operating Objectives, identifying the next Thematic Goal if the last one has been achieved
    • Refocus the team on gaining additional ground in team development
    • Mark out the next directed steps for review at the next Checkup

From the time you start your journey in Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team to the end of our work with you, you will see significant forward movement EVERY MONTH, with the resulting effect that you continue on well with each other. These new team dynamics become the standards of every team in which your initial team members work.