Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Lencioni’

In 100 Words: Do You Know Your Team?

Thursday, November 1st, 2012 by Troy Schrock

You work with your team every day, but how well do you know them as people?

Author Patrick Lencioni encourages the sharing of personal histories as a safe way to build trust among team members.  Have everyone share simple information about their past.  Where were you born?  How many siblings did you have?  Where did you fall in the birth order?  What was your first job?  Worst job?  Name a particular challenge in growing up.  Who was/is your role model?

Most people enjoy sharing stories from their lives, and as a result, team members learn to better understand each other.

“Many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request.” (Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield)

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Trust & Conflict: Why They Belong Together

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 by Troy Schrock

“Trust” is one of those warm & fuzzy words.  It’s a word that just makes you feel good inside, and for good reason.  Trust is the necessary ingredient in any relationship – family, business, or otherwise.  The word itself brings a sense of security and breeds a confidence that one can handle whatever is coming.

“Conflict” is not a warm & fuzzy word.  It’s something most of us try to avoid.  Just thinking about the word makes you uncomfortable, suspicious, and edgy.  Many would say that it’s the core ingredient in broken relationships.

What a contrast in words.  So why would best-selling author Patrick Lencioni write, “By building trust, a team makes conflict possible”? (See The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, pg. 202.)  There are two confusing aspects to this quote.  First, Lencioni says that trust (that warm & fuzzy word) leads to conflict (that bad word).  Second, the quote implies that conflict is desirable. 

If you live or work in an environment where everyone naturally agrees with one another, then Lencioni’s quote makes no sense.  But if you’re like the rest of us, you need to revise your view of conflict.  Conflict can be good because it drives resolution, but conflict will only be good in an
atmosphere of trust.  That’s why Lencioni’s statement makes sense and why these seemingly incongruent words belong with each other.

If you never see conflict in your workplace, your organization is in trouble.  If you find a meeting ending early to avoid confronting a contentious issue, your organization is in trouble.  If the most outspoken person on your team always gets his way because nobody has the nerve to openly disagree with him, your organization is in trouble.  Why?  Because the absence of conflict indicates the absence of trust, and no relationship can survive without trust.

I strongly recommend that you read Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  If you have thoughts or questions on increasing trust in the workplace, please post a comment.  We can all learn from each other.


There Are No “Bad” Employees!

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 by Ellen Bryson

I recently received an article from Patrick Lencioni entitled “The Dilemma of the Difficult Employee.”  The article discusses how managers typically react to a difficult employee.  The most common way is to question whether or not to keep the person and tolerate their behavior or let them go.  Lencioni points out that the real question we need to ask ourselves is, “Have I done everything I can to help the difficult employee?”

This caused me to think about a statement I once heard: “there are no bad employees, only bad hiring decisions.”  This certainly puts the onus back on management. Ever wonder why someone you thought was going to be a superstar turned out to be  a mediocre performer? Is it possible that the problem is not the employee, but rather the hiring process and human systems utilized by the company? Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Does the employee share the company’s core values?
  • Does the employee possess the skills necessary to perform the job?
  • Did management provide adequate training?
  • Were expectations clearly communicated and understood by the employee?
  • Was the employee held accountable for achieving results?

These are just a few of the things to consider when evaluating an employee’s performance. It’s management’s responsibility to ensure that the right people are in the right jobs.  Have you done everything you should do to ensure your employees have an opportunity for success?


Living Your Values

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 by Susan Diehl

It seems that many employees are increasingly disgruntled by their employer’s failure to “walk the talk”. When an organization proclaims it believes in something, but then behaves in a way that is contrary to those beliefs, the results are dire. Just today, I heard an example of a company communicating to its employees that it had instituted a process for global sales to promote fairness and transparency; however, when the process was not followed and worse yet, employees were hurt financially, the company turned its back on its values by not enforcing the policy against the offending employees. The reaction to this lapse, predictably, was that the negatively impacted employees did not want to follow the process the next time (and perhaps even to sabotage it!). Morale plummeted, trust in the process was lost, and no incentive remained to pursue similar sales in the future. In one fell swoop, the organization created a credibility gap.

Living your core values is more than putting a poster on the office wall, or holding a session to “embed” the values in the organization. Indeed, even if you are successful in aligning your employees around the values of your organization, it only takes one misstep (like the one above) to unwind all the good work that the organization has done to create that alignment. Put simply, the organization is just one behavior away from destroying a positive reputation that may have taken years to build. So, how can an organization ensure that it is walking the talk consistently?

First, and foremost—ensure that all members of your leadership team demonstrate your organization’s core values in everything they do. If they do not, you might as well not read any further. Leaders are like amplifiers: if they are aligned they will produce resonance, but if they are not aligned, the organization will hear static and will block out what is being communicated. Second, empower your employees to raise concerns about behaviors that are inconsistent with your values, without fear of backlash. You can designate someone in your organization or on its leadership team to champion these values. Encourage your employees to share their views and call out inconsistent behaviors, even if these behaviors originate with your leadership. Third, make sure that you follow up and follow through on these legitimate concerns. This will create credibility with your employees and promote an ethic of accountability. For example, if you value “respect for all people”, then allowing harassment or demeaning conduct in any form would not be tolerated. Finally, only hire and retain employees who demonstrate the core values of your organization. People are who they are—either they share your values or they do not. So, hire and keep people who reflect, rather than detract, from who you are. As Patrick Lencioni teaches, your values should be the immutable parameters of your hiring decisions.

On a personal note, I lost my father about a week or so ago. I was humbled and overwhelmed by the support we received by the many, many people who loved him. I heard wonderful stories about how my dad helped people when they were down, how he made them laugh, how he taught them to love, how he made them feel special. These were my dad’s values: showing love, being a friend, helping others, and keeping his family safe and secure. He lived them every day. I saw these even more clearly after he died and realized that your values are what define you. It reflects who you are and who you are not. Organizations, like people, need to live their values each and every day. These values define who they and what their legacy will be. So, go be inspired to create your legacy. It is the foundation upon which your organization rests.