In his video, Patrick Lencioni discusses his bestselling book, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. He outlines the root causes of team dysfunction and presents ways to identify and solves these issues. The five dysfunctions are:
- Absence of trust
- Fear of conflict
- Lack of commitment
- Avoidance of accountability
- Inattention to results
You can watch the video below:
In this article, we’re going to discuss dysfunction three – a lack of commitment – and how it plays into the wider issue of poor strategic execution within your company, and how leaders can inspire teams to commit to the cause.
Teams who demonstrate a lack of commitment to their goal breed a lack of confidence and a fear of failure. That fear can paralyse team members into inaction even when they are committed to the strategic goals. There will be ambiguity over the team’s direction and priorities, and windows of opportunity slam shut without action, because of delays.
Team members will often second-guess each other, and will analyse and debate initiatives without actually taking action. No one can make a decision that sticks.
This in turn creates animosity, as members of the team who are committed and accountable feel resentment toward those who don’t pull their weight. People think, “Why am I doing so much more than this person? If this is the level of commitment that’s expected, then I can dial my commitment back to match.” This in turn can drag the whole team down and derail any positive progress toward achieving strategic outcomes.
If this is what your team looks like, then you may need to consider taking the following steps to bring back a sense of commitment to strategy:
- Are you cascading conversations? This means that leaders are actively going out and communicating strategy results and tactics to teams. This way, team members can air their concerns and everyone can understand the strategy direction. All leaders need to be communicating the same message – this sends a powerful signal to everyone in the company that focus is united.
- Realise that seeking consensus is a nice goal, but it is not necessary. Too often, a consensus is used as an excuse of analysis paralysis. If everyone agrees and something doesn’t work, blame can then be dispersed and doesn’t fall back on one single person. But as a high-performance leader it is your job to take input, and then commit to a course of action. Commitment isn’t about consensus – it’s about leaving behind ambiguity to bring about a solid course of action.
- Develop common objectives from the onset. This helps to align the team with specific goals, which can then be used to refocus if discussion leads to ambiguity.
- Accept that mistakes may happen, but strive to learn from those mistakes, instead of dealing with ascribing blame. If team members know that mistakes are part of the process, and that they won’t be flayed alive for making them, they are more able to commit. (This helps alleviate their fear of conflict, which is another common team dysfunction).
- Set hard deadlines not just for actions, but for decisions to be made. This ensures discussion doesn’t become analysis paralysis.
With your team united and each member committed to seeing results, then your strategy will soon become reality. Is your team suffering from ambiguity, and you’re struggling to execute on strategy? Download our free guide, The Four Cornerstones of Strategic Execution.