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108 Patrick Lencioni: Five dysfunctions of a team

Leadership fable on how to identify and overcome five dysfunctions of teams: trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and attention to results.

Patrick Lencioni: Five dysfunctions of a team


In this leadership fable, consultant and author Patrick Lencioni uses a fictional story to illustrate the common dysfunctions that can hold back teams from achieving their full potential. Through the tale of a new CEO taking over a struggling tech company, Lencioni presents five key dysfunctions that commonly affect teams: lack of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. The story offers practical insights and strategies for overcoming these challenges and building high-performing teams.


Title: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Author: Patrick Lencioni

Publishing year: 2002

Publisher: Jossey-Bass

Length in hours: 3 hours and 42 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Trust is the foundation of effective teamwork. Leaders must work to build trust through vulnerability, openness, and empathy.
  2. Conflict can be productive when it is focused on ideas and goals, rather than personal attacks. Teams should embrace healthy conflict and learn to disagree constructively.
  3. Commitment is essential for achieving team goals. Leaders must ensure that all team members are committed to shared objectives and hold themselves accountable for progress.
  4. Accountability ensures that team members take responsibility for their actions and decisions. Leaders must create a culture of accountability and ensure that consequences are aligned with expectations.
  5. Attention to results means focusing on outcomes rather than individual performance. Teams must prioritize collective goals and celebrate successes together.
Patrick Lencioni: Five dysfunctions of a team

5 funny quotes

  1. "I'm a great team player. I've always found that if you're having a team lunch, don't order your own food. Just wait for the group to order and then have what they're having. It saves time and keeps things simple." - Dylan Moran
  2. "Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." - Vince Lombardi
  3. "The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side." - Margaret Carty
  4. "When you form a team, why do you try to form a team? Because teamwork builds trust and trust builds speed." - Russel Honore
  5. "Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." - Andrew Carnegie

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare." - Patrick Lencioni
  2. "Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it." - Brian Tracy
  3. "A boat doesn't go forward if each one is rowing their own way." - Swahili proverb
  4. "The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." - Phil Jackson
  5. "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing individual creativity with team collaboration
  2. Managing conflicts between team members and finding a resolution
  3. Addressing communication breakdowns and misunderstandings
  4. Ensuring accountability among team members while also fostering trust
  5. Balancing individual recognition with team recognition and success

5 examples

  1. Steve Jobs – Refusing to collaborate with team members leading to poor product development
  2. Enron - Covering up poor financial decisions that eventually led to the company’s bankruptcy
  3. Space Shuttle Challenger – Lack of communication between team members leading to the tragic disaster
  4. Chicago Bulls – Michael Jordan and his teammates working together to achieve multiple championships
  5. Google – Emphasizing collaboration and teamwork to create innovative products and solutions

Referenced books

  1. "Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box" by The Arbinger Institute
  2. "Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High" by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
  3. "In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies" by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr.
  4. "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't" by Jim Collins
  5. "The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization" by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith

Share a quote

“Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.”

Patrick Lencioni: Five dysfunctions of a team
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