In Monday Memo


Many of you will recognise the heading as the classic title of a book written by Patrick Lencioni way back around 2002. In my view, the model he presents is still as relevant today as it was then – and still relevant as one of the ways that one can build a ‘future-fit’ team; that is to say it is really great in one aspect of building a ‘future-fit’ team. It is however a horses-for-courses thing and can assist greatly with how the team constantly co-creates how they creatively and generatively work together – and, there are other places where high-performing teams also have to pay attention, as we will find out down the line in this series.

One way to understand the 5 dysfunctions approach is to take the opposite approach – a positive one – and imagine how truly functional and cohesive teams behave:

  1. They trust one another – Lencioni calls the dysfunction ‘absence of trust’;
  2. They engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas – the dysfunction here is ‘fear of conflict’;
  3. They commit to decisions and plans of action – the dysfunction is ‘lack of commitment’;
  4. They hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans – here he talks of ‘avoidance of accountability’; and
  5. They focus on achieving collective results – here the dysfunction is ‘inattention to results’.

An important feature of this model is that these dysfunctions, where they occur, need to be dealt with in the order above. So, if one finds that the team suffers from fear of conflict and avoidance of accountability, then deal with fear of conflict first. Accordingly, absence of trust is the Big Daddy of them all and, if apparent, should always be dealt with first.

Over the next five weeks, we will be dealing with each of these 5 dysfunctions in a way that will help us to understand just how dysfunctional teams operate in the dysfunction and how healthy teams deal with it.

In addition, this week I am offering the first two team leaders who respond on behalf of their teams and who qualify, a free 5 dysfunctions assessment for them and their teams, as well as a one-hour report back session with the team leader. To respond and see if you qualify, please send me a short email on in which you should tell me your team’s purpose, how many direct reports there are, and which dysfunction you think may be showing up. I undertake to revert to you within a couple of days

I hope that the series creates not only greater understanding for my readers, but that it perhaps creates more questions than answers. If I am successful in achieving this for you, please feel free to raise your views or questions with me at 

(I am indebted to the work of Peter Hawkins, of Renewal Associates, especially his book, Leadership Team Coaching, as well as the methodology of Integral Coaching Canada, which I have integrated for purposes of this series and in developing my Systemic Leadership Team Coaching process. In this particular blog, I have lent heavily on the work of Patrick Lencioni in his book, The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team.)

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search