Book Review: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – A Leadership Fable

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni is a must read for anyone that works in a close team environment. Patrick Lencioni uses a fictional story to lay the groundwork for a model that applies to any team. The story is engaging and keeps the reader’s attention as we learn about how to create a functional team.

The fictional company is DecisionTech, a California hi-tech startup with amazing potential. When they formed two years ago they had all the makings of a very successful venture, including the best team, a viable product, a strategic business plan and tons of investors. Two years in they had failed to reach their potential.

The story follows the lead of Kathryn, the new CEO, hired to make everything work. We follow her thoughtful journey to identify the team, where it’s breaking down and start the rebuilding process. Although at times Kathryn is too good to be true, she demonstrates a very practical model to building a functional team. After the story, the author provides more background about the model and how to begin applying it to your team.

The model addresses Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and Results. Each area is interrelated and builds on each other. For example, without trust, a team probably won’t be able to healthy conflict which is necessary to create commitment through buy in and clarity of the issues. Without commitment, it is unlikely team members will allow themselves to be held accountable and without accountability is unlikely the team will see results. A simple but extremely helpful model for improving a team.

After reading the book, Jones & Roth incorporated the model into a firm retreat using The Five Dysfunctions of a Team workshop guides. The results were wonderful and are extremely effective in building a stronger team. Unlike other books and workshops that share information but don’t help you practically implement the ideas, this model provides a framework for implementing positive changes into the future.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to build a stronger results oriented team.

Tricia Duncan, CPA is the Director of Operations at Jones & Roth. She is also a business advisor and career coach and has facilitated team workshops using the Five Dysfunctions of a Team workshop model.

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