The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: Part V

Posted by Adam Richardson - 08/07/2020

Today, we finish our discussion around our latest Lockdown read, ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ by Patrick Lencioni.

If you didn’t catch our first four blogs, around Absence of Trust, Fear of Conflict, Lack of Commitment and Avoidance of Accountability, they can be found here.

This week, we will explore the next dysfunction:

 Dysfunction Five: Inattention to Results

Lencioni believes that the ultimate dysfunction can be for team members to care about something other than the collective goals of the group. He adds:

“An unrelenting focus on specific objectives and clearly defined outcomes is a requirement for any team that judges itself on performance.”

Lencioni points out that results in this context are not just limited to financial measures – but also the goals and objectives that are set along the way.

So, is ‘Inattention to results’ a dysfunction of your team?

 Here are some of the traits of teams with an inattention to results:

  • The team is easily distracted
  • The company rarely defeats their competitors
  • The company and team stagnates – and loses achievement-orientated employees

So, if we know this is a dysfunction of our team, how can we address it?

Lencioni suggests some of the below tools:

Public declaration of results: Lencioni suggests that a good way to increase focus on results is to publicly commit to intended success. He believes that teams who do this, are more likely to work with a passion and focus to achieve these results. Teams that say “we’ll do our best” rather than commit to a specific result are already preparing themselves for failure.

Results based rewards: Lencioni believes that an effective way to focus team members on results is to their some of their rewards / compensation to the achievement of specific outcomes. Allowing someone to take home a bonus when results have not been achieved sends a message to the company that achieving outcomes might not be important.

 And what if you are the leader of a team where there is an inattention to results?

Lencioni believes that the leader must set the tone for a focus on results. If the team members see that the leader doesn’t place importance on achieving results, it gives them a pass to do the same. The leader should also ensure that rewards and recognition are for those on the team who have contributed to the achievement of the team goals.

Over the last few months, achieving results may have seemed harder than ever.

Have the goals and targets you set for the team been forgotten about?

Have you accepted a “we’ll do our best in the current climate” approach?

Have you created a new set of targets or left the team drifting?

Or perhaps your team hasn’t experienced an inattention to results at all – in which case Lencioni would expect you have seen some of the below advantages:

  • The team have avoided distractions
  • You have retained the achievement-orientated employees
  • You have enjoyed success
  • You have minimised individualistic behaviours in the team

We hope you have enjoyed our exploration of Lencioni’s work - if you want to learn more about this subject, the book can be purchased here.

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