Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Notes - Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team : A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers and Facilitators

:: Teams
Teamwork remains the one sustainable competitive advantage that has been largely untapped.
First, because teamwork is hard to measure. Why? Because it impacts the outcome of an organization in such comprehensive and invasive ways that it's virtually impossible to isolate it as a single variable. Many executives prefer solutions that are more easily measurable and verifiable, and so they look elsewhere for their competitive advantages.
But even if the impact of teamwork were more easily measurable, executives probably would still look elsewhere. Why? Because teamwork is extremely hard to achieve. It can’t be bought, and it can’t be attained by hiring an intellectual giant from the world’s best business school. It requires levels of courage and discipline—and emotional energy—that even the most driven executives don’t always possess.

:: Trust
The key ingredient to building trust is not time. It is courage. [<-- the money quote]

Trust lies at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team. Without it, team work is all but impossible.
In the context of building a team, trust is the confidence among team members that their peers' intentions are good, and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group. In essence, teammates must get comfortable being vulnerable with one another.

:: Discomfort and conflict
One way for a team to know if they are having enough conflict is for them to think about how an outsider to the team would feel sitting in on a team meeting. A great team will look at least a little strange to an outsider who isn't accustomed to the direct and unfiltered dialogue taking place. Like a friend invited to dinner at a close family's house, they would probably be a little taken aback, at least at first.

When a team recovers from an incident of destructive conflict, it builds confidence that it can survive such an event, which in turn builds trust.

When people self-identify and publicly declare their outlook on conflict, they become much more open to adjusting it to whatever team norms need to be established.

The leader is going to have to be ready to not only light the fuse of good conflict but to gently fan the flames for a while too.

:: Commitment
Commitment is about a group of intelligent, driven individuals buying in to a decision precisely when they don't naturally agree. In other words, it's the ability to defy a lack of consensus.

:: Accountability
Peer pressure and the distaste for letting down a colleague will motivate a team player more than any fear of authoritative punishment or rebuke.
The most important challenge of building a team where people hold one another accountable is overcoming the understandable hesitance of human beings to give one another critical feedback.
Help people realize that when they fail to provide peers with constructive feedback they are letting them down personally. By holding back, we are hurting not only the team, but also our teammates themselves.

:: Results
Results-oriented teams establish their own measurements for success.They don't allow themselves the wiggle room of subjectivity. But this is not easy, because subjectivity is attractive.


  1. I like these! Especially the one about trust and courage. I've seen that quote in action plenty of times.

  2. hey baraka! thanks for reading... hope all is well. see you when you get home from college, hopefully...