I’ve read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and it’s… a rather boring book. You can skip this one.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (2002) is a famous business book by Patrick Lencioni and is the next book in the Madriagil book club. I don’t usually read business books but I’m a firm follower of the book club.
Like The Phoenix Project, it tells a story instead of just throwing the magic recipes to success. I have to say that I quite like the idea of showcasing your principles with a long story but it has some drawbacks. One problem I see is that, although I can relate to the story, it sounds “too good to be true”. In both books, everything gets solved in the end and all are converted to the new religion. The most annoying thing is that people change almost instantly and, having worked with lots of people, I find that too hard to believe.
The five dysfunctions (that I know you are dying for knowing them) are:
- Absence of trust: unwilling to be vulnerable within the group
- Fear of conflict: seeking artificial harmony over constructive passionate debate
- Lack of commitment: feigning buy-in for group decisions creates ambiguity throughout the organization
- Avoidance of accountability: ducking the responsibility to call peers on counterproductive behavior which sets low standards
- Inattention to results: focusing on personal success, status and, ego before team success
Those five problems are presented in a pyramid, one alimenting the other: because people don’t have trust to express their ideas they don’t create conflict and because there is no conflict they don’t buy-in to the commitments…
Ok. I would love living in a world where everything can be explained by those 5 dysfunctions. I’m a skeptic as you can see.
I was surprised of finding in amazon several summaries (by fake authors). The book is quite short but it seems it isn’t short enough and there is a market for summaries with 5 bullet points (like this post).
Although the story is interesting… I don’t believe in situations that can be traced to 5 simple problems.
I think the world (and teams and companies) are complex systems and it’s usually impossible to find only one cause to a specific problem. I’m more aligned with the management 3.0 view of the world.