Steps to building a successful team: Part 5

The fifth step: inattention to results.

Once a team has developed trust, began to engage each other in non-threatening conflict, achieved clarity to their purpose and increased their commitment and began holding each other accountable for their role on the team, the next and final step is to become more focused on achieving the teams set goals.

According to Patrick Lencioni, founder and president of The Table Group, who has worked with many organizations to provide training in the area of executive team development and organizational health, there are five dysfunctions of a team, as described in his booked, Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team:

  • Absence of trust
  • Fear of conflict
  • Commitment
  • Embracing accountability
  • Inattention to results-natural tendency to look at ourselves before other, even those who are family and team members

As the team begins their journey, they may have to frequently revisit this step to make sure they are still on track to achieving the goals they set out to achieve. The key is to gain results. However, in order to achieve results, each team member must stay focused and keep their personal agenda and their own self-interest at a minimum for the greater good. It is normal for teams to get off track at various points in the journey, but it is imperative to revisit those goals and reengage the team to begin the focus where it needs to be. There are three distinct distractions that prevent reaching the established team goals:

  • Ego-The individuals egos are less important than team achievements
  • Career development & Money- Being up front with the team about career advancement and financial needs will circumvent any problems that impact the team performance
  • My Department-Making the team you lead a higher priority than the team you are a part of

A team activity that Lencioni suggests to include is developing a Scoreboard. A scoreboard, dashboard or radar is a visual tool used to assess the success of the team at any given point. The scoreboard is limited to small number factors such as expenses, reports, schedules or travel.

Since each of these behaviors are interrelated, it is important to work on them together as opposed to approaching each issue in a silo. Patrick Lencioni has developed guidelines that may assist in you in developing cohesiveness in your organizational team.

Lencioni defines overcoming dysfunction requires the team overall clarity and buy-in in order to reach commitment. Please stay tuned next month for an article on Embracing Accountability. To learn more about Government and Public Policy and the Leadership and Community Engagement programs offered through Michigan State University Extension, please contact Emily Proctor, Tribal Extension Educator with questions or comments at (231)-439-8927 or

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