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I generally do not read non-fiction and more than once I have left best-sellers after a few pages.  They just can’t interest me enough and I find them boring usually!  But this one was exception all the way. The FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS of a TEAM, by Patrick Lencioni, is a leadership fable.

It does not start with preaching the reader about doing this or that. Instead, it just narrates a story of a technology firm, DecisionTech, in the Silicon Valley. Inspite of having the most impressive Executive team, an indestructible Business Plan and top-tier investors, DecisionTech is experiencing all sorts of problems. Slipped deadlines, critical employees leaving the company; name the issue and they are in DecisionTech’s Kitty. The board asks CEO Jeff to step down and a new CEO is hired to save DecisionTech from doom.

Kathryn, during her first couple of weeks in DecisionTech, simply observes everyone around her and in the company. Before long, she knows the core of the problem. Everyone is an extraordinary individual when it comes to expertise but bunch of these experts cannot even form a mediocre team. Someone thinks he knows the best of the world in his field and cannot realise others might have an opinion as well. Someone is too polite and volunteers for work all the time but can never hold people accountable. Someone finds it very difficult to even listen to anyone else and is very non-communicative. Kathryn knows she has a long way to go before she can make a functional team out of these people.

Kathryn uses off-sites as the opportunity to bring the executive team together and open up with each other, identify their weaknesses and strengths and how they can complement & support each other. She tells them about the following five dysfunctions of a team and how they all exist in DecisionTech. Image


The way she handles the situation so gracefully and patiently is remarkable. She certainly pulls the team together, though she has to take some hard decisions like firing someone who just doesn’t seem to fit in the team.

It highlights both the cause and the solution. It is a truly riveting read just because its said like a story and not preaching. I would recommend it to anyone who is a part of any team, whatsoever it is. 

From the book:
“A fractured team is just like a broken arm or leg; fixing it is always painful, and sometimes you have to rebreak it to make it heal correctly. And the rebreak hurts a lot more than the initial break, because you have to do it on purpose”