I’ve nearly finished Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is running a company or an executive team. It’s told in story form which made me rip thorough it in a few days. Some of the chapters reminded me of some team problems we had a few years ago. We battled gossip and a lot of conflict. We eventually brought in a consultant to help define our Mission, Vision and Values. Lee Colan helped us with the collaborative effort. It was very powerful and it helped us define who we are.
We later brought in Nina Atwood who helped us with a customized half day training session on A) eliminating gossip and B) how best to deal with conflict (and avoid triangulation). Phenomenal!! Our conflict immediately became manageable and helped the team perform better. All of that helps. But sometimes there are one or two people who don’t belong on the team. It’s another subject, but hiring well (and hiring people who fit your core company values) also makes a big difference.
In Lencioni’s book he talks about a base need for trust among the team. Our team works very well together and we trust each other. I have very little conflict to deal with because the team members handle it themselves. Certainly makes my job easier. Lencioni also talks about the need for conflict – especially in the management meetings. Each team member has to be able to tactfully and professionally challenge ideas and other team members. This helps the team to become high performing and for the company to do well. There are some exercises and questionnaires in the book that help determine where you are. We score very well on trust but I think we may have a little work to do on encouraging conflict (to some extent) and challenging long set policies and procedures. I can tend to get set in my ways and I think we need to keep evolving to address the changing industry and business climate.
We can do it!
After defining our Mission, Vision and Values, we won Best Places to Work Awards two of the following three years. It’s helped us maintain tenure and it greatly decreased turnover.