Team dysfunctions affecting business?

Posted On 21 Sep 2017
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According to Jim Rathbone of Rathbone Results companies often overlook the importance of teamwork when looking to run a successful business

In seeking to increase growth and profitability, the focus of security installers is often on sales, marketing, new technologies, pricing, customer service, operations efficiency and financial management.  These are obviously important. However, my experience in business management and working with security installers shows there is another key ingredient in business success – teamwork.

I recently read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by the renowned author Patrick Lencioni who turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams.

Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions that are at the very heart of why teams — even the best ones — often struggle. Two critical truths are clear. First, genuine teamwork in most organisations remains as elusive as it has ever been. Second, organisations fail to achieve teamwork because they unknowingly fall prey to five natural but dangerous pitfalls, which are referred to as the five dysfunctions of a team.

These dysfunctions can be mistakenly interpreted as five distinct issues that can be addressed in isolation from the others. But in reality they form an interrelated model, making weakness in even one of them very dangerous for the success of a team. An overview of each dysfunction should make this clear.

Absence of trust

The first dysfunction is an absence of trust among team members. Essentially, this stems from their unwillingness to be vulnerable within the group. Team members who are not genuinely open with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation for trust.

Fear of conflict

This failure to build trust is damaging because it sets the tone for the second dysfunction: fear of conflict. Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and energised debate about ideas. Instead, they resort to lukewarm discussions and guarded comments. Technology change is evolving exponentially. In a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA), it has never been more important to have debates within the management team about ideas, about what external changes are most relevant and about how the business might respond.

Lack of commitment

A lack of healthy conflict is a problem because it ensures the third dysfunction of a team: lack of commitment. Without airing their opinions in the course of passionate and open debate, team members rarely, if ever, buy in and commit to decisions, though they may simulate agreement during meetings.

Read the full article in the October 2017 edition of PSI magazine