The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Part VI

Part 6 of 6

By Al Mills

Inattention to Results

Key Symptom:  Status and Ego

I’m sure there’s not a team out there that wouldn’t become defensive when confronted with a claim that they are not results oriented.  Of course, we are results oriented, but which results, and to what end?

Solid teams have absolute clarity about the goals they are pursuing, and hold each other accountable for team related results.  As a dysfunction, inattention to results is a reflection of team members becoming distracted by their own agenda, rather than the team agenda.  That’s a pretty stark statement so we need to unpack it a little.

How many of us at different times have been confused by whether our motivations are self-centred or oriented toward what is best for the team?  I’m certain I have, and if we are honest, I think most of us can make the same confession.  There a meme floating around in cyber space that says “You might as well give up…I knew I was wrong ten minutes ago and now I’m just arguing to make you mad.”

Have you ever held on to a position even though you weren’t feeling so confident about whether you were right?  What about teamwork?  Are you thinking you might get a promotion because of your contribution on the team and maybe you do a few things to help your contribution shine a little brighter?

This is the subtlety of how we become less oriented on team results and a little distracted by results that might be beneficial for us personally, or even for our department.  Sometimes our own egos might need to take a hit, or our areas of responsibility for the good of the overall organizational goals.  When our goals of status and ego surpass what’s good for the overall team, we become inattentive to the results that are best for the team and focused on the results that are best for us as individuals.

The Five Dysfunctions as Foundation

While it’s been over 20 years since Lencioni’s book was published, its profound impact, clarity, and simplicity is undeniable.  The logical thread from the foundation of trust through to inattention to results should ring clear as a bell to all of us.  The most distressing element of a study such as this is how easy it is to become entrenched in other elements of the business world; marketing, technology, P&L, and strategy and dismiss these dysfunctions as nonconsequential or insignificant.

Building teams using the Five Dysfunctions model is accessible to all of us.  And the implementation should be done carefully and deliberately, with attention to goals and progress.  Based on Lencioni’s work, The Advantage Mill has paid careful attention to the recommended solutions and questions to ask and answer.  Contact us today to start a conversation that will have long-term results for your organization.

To get complete expansion on this make sure you read Lencioni’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.