Risk & Business Magazine Cooke Insurance Risk & Business Magazine Fall 2017 | Page 17

FEATURE STORY Patrick Lencioni Conquering Team Dysfunction IMPROVING YOUR TEAM L ike it or not, all teams are potentially dysfunctional. This is inevitable because they are made up of fallible, imperfect human beings. From the basketball court to the executive suite, politics and confusion are more the rule than the exception. However, facing dysfunction and focusing on teamwork is particularly critical at the top of an organization because the executive team sets the tone for how all employees work with one another. A former client, the founder of a billion dollar company, best expressed the power of teamwork when he once told me, “If you could get all the people in the organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.” Whenever I repeat this adage to a group of leaders, they immediately nod their heads, but in a desperate sort of way. They seem to grasp the truth of it while simultaneously surrendering to the impossibility of actually making it happen. “IF YOU COULD GET ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE ORGANIZATION ROWING IN THE SAME DIRECTION...” Fortunately, there is hope. Counter to conventional wisdom, the causes of dysfunction are both identifiable and curable. However, they don’t die easily. Making a team functional and cohesive requires levels of courage and discipline that many groups cannot seem to muster. ADDRESSING THE DYSFUNCTIONS To begin improving your team and to better understand the level of dysfunction you are facing, ask yourself these simple questions: • Do team members openly and readily disclose their opinions? • Are team meetings compelling and productive? • Does the team come to decisions quickly and avoid getting bogged down by consensus? • Do team members confront one another about their shortcomings? • Do team members sacrifice their own interests for the good of the team? > 17