Risk & Business Magazine Cooke Insurance Risk & Business Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 17
IMPROVING YOUR TEAM
ike it or not, all teams are
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
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
“IF YOU COULD
GET ALL THE
PEOPLE IN THE
ROWING IN THE
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
• 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