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Why Teams Fail February 21, 2011

Posted by frewon9 in Inspirational.

The reasons why teams fail while others succeed? It’s a question that’s been written about in many business books.

Patrick Lencioni wrote exclusively about this subject in his book, The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. These dysfunctions are:


1. Absence of Trust
2. Fear of Conflict
3. Lack of Commitment
4. Unwillingness to Hold Each Other Accountable
5. Inattention to Results



Workplaces full of politics, manipulation and silent resentments are unhealthy to the people working there and in-congruent to effective operation or meeting goals.

First you must recognize that dysfunction is the reason why teams fail.

Second you must begin to establish the conditions that will produce trust on the team. In some cases this might mean discipline to some employees, perhaps in some cases it means termination or removal from the team.

You must call people on their negative behaviors.

You Must Become Ruthlessly Honest

To establish trust and begin counteracting the root of why teams fail, honesty is your tool.

“Trust is a psychological state comprising the intention to accept vulnerability based on positive expectations of the intentions of another.”

We are vulnerable when part of a team. If we can’t trust the people around us we’re lost.

Conflicts, problems, drama, meetings, boundaries all run smoother when people trust each other.

Have Courage in the Face of Fear

Honest brings Conflict. This is true in life, on teams, and in business.

Fear not. Jim Collins, author of Good To Great says, “The essence of profound insight is simplicity.”

To be honest is an essential to building trust, yet it often brings conflict to those who aren’t ready for honesty or simplicity.

This one simple concept drives the stake in the heart of the question of “why teams fail?”

Honesty, being essential, will bring conflict, yet you must stay true to your course.

Fight Lack of Commitment

“They understand each other and collective goals better.” -Eric Mangini (Coach of the Cleveland Browns)

Being committed, like being honest, scares people who operate on dishonesty and distrust. They play by an ever-shifting set of rules, so “commitment” means just that “being committed” to a specific course of action and an established set of guiding principles.

“Trying” to be committed will not work.

Just like Yoda said to Luke in Star Wars, “Do or do not. . . there is no try.”

If you’re having trouble establishing commitment on your team means you have not taken care of the previous two factors:

1. Are people fearful of rocking the boat by being honest?
2. Are people trusting?

If you have trust, you’re being ruthlessly honest and you’re not afraid of conflict with others on the team, then commitment to a plan of action should come easily.

If you’re fearful, dishonest, or distrusting you must identify the factors that are not allowing you to move forward. This step is integral to your success, since these sticking points will cause team failure.

Here’s a good process to identify and eliminate your sticking points.

Begin Holding Everyone Accountable

Commitment and faith in your course of action breeds accountability on your team. It’s natural to hold yourself and the people around you accountable when you believe in clearly defined goals and roles.

Constructive criticism, mentoring, collaboration, etc. are all different forms of holding one another accountable. To be effective they all require trust and honesty.

Each breaks down when one leg of the stool is missing.

Accountability occurs when your “Why” is strong enough and you have people around you with common goals.

Only Pay Attention To Results

The best teams pay attention to what is working, they are also acutely aware of what isn’t working.

Jim Collins makes it clear, the business that pays attention to their unique Hedgehog Concept and keeps it in the forefront of their mind in all situations, is the business that succeeds the most.




1. Ativan - April 6, 2013

It’s great that you are getting thoughts from this piece of writing as well as from our discussion made at this time.

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