The book of the month is…

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team written by Patric Lencioni, an American writer of books on business management and team management.

The book, written as a fable, describes the many pitfalls that teams face as they seek to grow together. It’s a business story centered on Kathryn, a new CEO to a failing high-tech company, DecisionTech.  The CEO works her way to the root causes of the executive team’s failures. In this way Lencioni explores the fundamental causes of organizational politics and team failure.

According to the book, the five dysfunctions are:

  • Absence of trust—unwilling to be vulnerable within the group
  • Fear of conflict—seeking artificial harmony over constructive passionate debate
  • Lack of commitment—feigning buy-in for group decisions creates ambiguity throughout the organization
  • Avoidance of accountability—ducking the responsibility to call peers on counterproductive behavior which sets low standards
  • Inattention to results—focusing on personal success, status and ego before team success

Every dysfunctions are linked in with each other and, thanks to them, we can uncover the characteristics of a High Performance Team:

  1. High levels of trust
  2. Constructive and productive conflict within the team and between peers
  3. Deep commitment and engagement with the cause or strategy
  4. Good levels of a willingness to hold each other to account
  5. Strong and enduring results orientation

The book is a very quick read that provides a new perspective on teamwork.  Patrick Lencioni does not specifically suggest any lean principles or tools, but many of the same thought processes are evident throughout the storyline. 

If you are only going to read one business book this year, this is the one. No modern business leader should be unaware of these insights.