The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Editors Note: This book review has been written by a real expert on coaching and dealing with change – Andrew Miller from Business Enjoyment. Andrew is a supporter of the Yorkshire Powerhouse project and an avid reader (and publisher) of business books!

Please contact Andrew for any aspect of coaching or self-development – click on the advert links above or below – please mention Yorkshire Powerhouse when you make contact.

Yorkshire Powerhouse Score: 8/10

Your team is the most important element of your business and if you’re not all on the same page, pulling in the same direction, you’re going to get into trouble – the Five Dysfunctions!

Patrick Lencioni delivers the story of a new CEO that is tasked with turning around a troubled business and does this by uniting a team that is in disarray.

From her journey, we get to learn what elements need to be in place to enable a team to function efficiently and effectively, the common mistakes we often make, the impact those mistakes have on performance and what you can do to bring everyone together and produce a powerful, performing collective.

Who will gain the most from reading this book?

The book is targeted at the CEO type – a person in charge of a board of directors. However, the elements can be applied to any situation where you are in charge of a group of people and want them to produce certain results.

In addition, anyone advising people in such a position should read this book as a matter of course.

Core Content of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Yes, it’s another book from America from another ‘successful’ management consultant with another take on how to create a buoyant, thriving, exciting business. However, don’t let that put you off.

This is a great book on building teams built around a simple, understandable model.

The book is delivered in story format – the term they use is ‘fable’ – almost as if we are reading an in-depth case study on what one person did to transform a struggling business.

We start off with the problem situation (The Five Dysfunctions) and this will contain elements that you will instantly recognise if you’ve ever worked with other people, so the concepts are instantly accessible and relatable, even if the specific context is different.

The hero/heroine of the piece then introduces the model that they wish the team – and, by association, us – to grasp. With that introduction come all the areas of resistance that one can expect to encounter and how to handle those objections.

Then we get to see how the stages are practically implemented into the organisation, the problems that arise in attempting to change established cultures and how those problems are overcome.

Finally, we get the ideal situation and a vision of how things should look when they’re working well.

By the end of it, we have a good understanding of the model, total appreciation as to how powerful it is and a good understanding of how we might implement it within our own situations.

For me, the model is absolutely spot on. I regularly recommend this model and this book to people I work with and, even if you only get the first two stages in place, you’re going to be in a much better place than you would have been otherwise.

It has a light and easy-to-read style, so you’re not bogged down with jargon or technical information and the story concept makes it very easy to follow what’s going. Consequently, you end up learning things almost without realising it, due to the osmosis effect that the story style induces. This book does lend itself very well to the audio format for that reason.

However, the style may not be for everyone and at times it does feel a bit like too much attention is being focussed on unnecessary character backstories when all you really want to do is crack on with the key points.

Also, not all the answers are here. Whilst you get a good understanding of how to implement the model from this book, there’s enough gap to warrant the upsell of a complementary workbook that will help further with the implementation.

But I guess we’re all in business so we can’t really complain too much at that approach as what he does give is very useful.

Like all good models, it is based around good common sense, however, we do need to see how everything fits together in order to use it properly.

Could a Yorkshire perspective improve this book?

The story style wanders round the houses a bit. The Yorkshire version could be done in a couple of pages. “Here’s the model, here’s what it means”. However, there is an extra richness and depth achieved through the less direct approach.

Review Takeaway

A successful team starts with trust and that has to come from the leader first. If they don’t trust you, you’ll never be able to trust them.Book Reviews, Yorkshire Powerhouse

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