Patrick Lencioni's The Five Dysfunctions of a TeamThe second book in Evolution’s quarterly book club was The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. This is the second time I have read this book – it is a must read (or listen) for all teams that want to grow. Creating a cohesive team is more difficult than most entrepreneurs ever dream.

My two most memorable concepts:

1. “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”

2. An outsider listening in on a meeting between a team should feel a little uncomfortable with the direct dialogue.

Both concepts I believe to my core.

As I read the book, I tried to come up with a list of the companies or organizations that truly have the foundation of a Team – Trust. Trust is the base or first step in building a team. Sadly, very few management teams have it. The amount of work to build it is immense, but once in place, the value to the organization as a whole is tremendous.

The Five Dysfunction of a Team is a fable – a story of Decision Tech, a company that just hired a new CEO, Kathryn Petersen, to bring the team together. Kathryn does a wonderful job of coaching the Decision Tech team through The Five Dysfunctions. Pictured below is The Five Dysfunctions Model as outlined by Mr. Lencioni.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team as defined by Patrick Lencioni

I will admit, the second time through this book had a bigger impact on me than the first. It is remarkable how life’s experiences change the way you view yourself and your organization. The first time I listened to the book my biggest take away was the second dysfunction, Fear of Conflict. I wanted to be more direct and honest and try to get my partners, staff and others to be more engaged. I wanted them to tell me what they were thinking and be willing to fight for what they believed. This approach didn’t exactly work.

With the second listening however, I realized how much I missed the first time around, mostly the first dysfunction, Absence of Trust. Not only in how much I trust the people around me, but more importantly, how much they trust me. As I thought about who I trust unconditionally, those that immediately came to mind understood my passion for growing small businesses and could ultimately help push our organization to deliver results and make decisions better than I ever could on my own. After all, without trust, the other four steps are not nearly as effective, nor as much fun!


Posted by: Brendan AndersonA co-founder and managing partner at Evolution, Brendan has spent the past 20 years as an investor and manager of businesses ranging from manufacturing to financial services. @Brendan_Andersn