Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: How Valid Creates a Results-Oriented Organizational Culture

By Anne Markle – Vice President of Manufacturing, USA Region

From new solutions to new global locations, Valid is continuously adapting and evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of our clients and the world around us. With our continued growth and success, our leadership team has grown and changed as well. In an ever-evolving technological climate, it is more critical than ever to establish a solid framework upon which a successful team can be built.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni has proven to be an extremely useful tool of organizational growth, enabling our team to not only speak the same language, develop, and hit our results, but has given each team member the ability to shine individually throughout the process. How does it all work? Let’s take a deeper look.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team focuses on what occurs when teams are missing key functional elements and the direct impact on results. In order to reduce misunderstandings and confusion amongst a team, it is important to understand there are five dysfunctions, and each dysfunction must be addressed individually.

Absence of Trust
It all starts with trust. Without trust, you are without a foundation. If team members are unable to reveal their weaknesses and be vulnerable and open with each other, it fosters a culture with the absence of trust. This encourages defensive behaviors by individuals which makes them more reluctant to ask for help from – or assist – other team members. By sharing experiences, following through, demonstrating credibility, and developing strong insight into the unique characteristics of each team member, teams are able to successfully overcome this dysfunction.

Fear of Conflict
Inferior or incorrect decisions are often a result of a setting where team members do not openly express their opinions. If a team does not trust one another, they are often unable to participate in an unfiltered, passionate debate or discussion. This causes the avoidance of conflict which is often replaced with artificial harmony and does not address the original issue at hand. When approached respectively and with forethought, conflict can be both positive and productive.

Lack of Commitment
Ambiguity often prevails amongst a team without conflict. Buy-in occurs when an individual’s opinion is included in the decision-making process – often through debate. A team does not always need to reach a consensus, but it does need to make sure everyone is heard. The most productive teams make informed and transparent decisions once they are confident they have the support of and the commitment to the team as a whole.

Avoidance of Accountability
A team cannot have accountability when there is a lack of commitment by individual team members. If a team is lacking buy-in, they are much less likely to hold one another accountable. It is the responsibility of each individual to hold their team accountable and accept it when others hold them accountable. In order to be successful, a team must have a measurement of progress. This is accomplished by knowing the team’s standards, what needs to be done, by whom, and by when.

Inattention to Results
When an individual is not held accountable, far too often they tend to protect their own self-interests, rather than the interests of the team. Without accountability, the results the team HOPES to achieve will never come to fruition. A team can truly become results-oriented when each and every member places the team’s results above their own personal gain. Results should be transparent and behaviors should be rewarded that contribute to the overall success of the team.

The leader of the team helps the group to overcome these five dysfunctions by leading by example and setting a positive tone. The leader should be open about their weaknesses, encourage healthy conflict, hold themselves and others accountable, set standards, and clearly communicate the team’s results.

At Valid, we are building a culture of innovation by adopting new products, technologies, and progressive business philosophies. A results-oriented culture cannot be accomplished without trust, conflict, commitment, or accountability. Valid’s leadership is dedicated to achieving success by strategically and methodically overcoming these five dysfunctions of a team.

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