The Highlights and Themes: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
running one group for six months or longer seems quite exorbitant! The theme of this book was based on an organizational approach to effective team building skills. The fable began by giving a brief background of the cooperation, DecisionTech, Inc. which was what this story was centered around. There was a new CEO, of the corporation, Kathryn, and her main task was to create effective teamwork among her staff who were the key leaders of this company. After observing the interaction and dialogue of all team members for several weeks, she finally decided to call an off-site meeting and invited her staff members to attend. The meeting was to take place just far enough to where it would be considered out of town and she also made it mandatory attendance. She experienced some animosity from her colleagues but she was determined that what she had in mind for their off-site agenda would soon render their cooperation. When the off-site began she immediately started to work on creating team cohesion among the leaders of her company. She proposed a model that touched on five dysfunctions of a team. The model was similar to that of a hierarchal model in that a team needed to conquer one aspect or dysfunction of the model before they could effectively move on to the next dysfunction. The first dysfunction of the model is an absence of trust among team members. This stems from their unwillingness to be vulnerable within the group setting. It concludes that team members who are not genuinely open with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation of trust. This ties into the second dysfunction in that a failure to build trust among team members solicits a fear on conflict. Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas. Instead, they rely on guarded comments and keep the tone at a surface. The lack of healthy conflict within a team ensures the third dysfunction, lack of commitment. If members of a team cannot speak freely and voice their opinions, then there will rarely ever be team buy in or a commit to decisions. If this is to occur, members will lack commitment and develop the fourth dysfunction, an avoidance of accountability. If there is not a commitment to a plan of action then members often hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counterproductive to better the team. If there is not any accountability, this creates an environment where the fifth dysfunction can thrive. The fifth and final dysfunction of the model is inattention to results. This occurs when team members put their individual needs such as career development, above the collective goals of the team. The vast majority of the fable describes in detail how each of these dysfunctions can detriment effective teamwork and hinders the underlying goal of a corporation. Throughout the fable there are members of the team who retaliate against the model and some leaders even left the company. However, in the end, this fable truly shows how effective this model can be when used in a team building environment. Towards the end of the fable, there is an overview of the model which goes into more detail on how to implement the model and offers suggestions for overcoming each of the dysfunctions. One of the tools that were suggested for helping a team to build trust was a personal history exercise. This is a simple exercise that is done in less than one hour and is vital for a team to flourish when creating trust among its members. The simplicity of this exercise is basically questions that are not too personal yet educate fellow members about the background personal life of each team member. Another great suggestion was administering a personality and behavioral preference profile such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). By doing this within a team setting will allow...
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