MembershipI’ve been asked by the Brumbies CEO to contribute a regular piece to their in-house newsletter. This is my first contribution:

In my first contribution, I’d like to share a few lessons I’ve picked up from a book by Patrick Lencioni called The Five Dysfunctions of Team. This is one of the best books I’ve read on teamwork and I think it has much to offer our organisation, both on the team and admin sides.

The five dysfunctions can be summarised as follows:

Dysfunction #1: Absence of Trust 

This occurs when team members are reluctant to be vulnerable with one another and are unwilling to admit their mistakes, weaknesses or needs for help. Without a certain comfort level among team members, a foundation of trust is impossible.

Dysfunction #2: Fear of Conflict 

Teams that are lacking trust are unable to engage in unfiltered, passionate debate about key issues, causing situations where team conflict can easily turn into veiled discussions and back channel comments. In a work setting where team members do not openly air their opinions, inferior decisions are the result.

Dysfunction #3: Lack of Commitment 

Without conflict, it is difficult for team members to commit to decisions, creating an environment where ambiguity prevails. Lack of direction and commitment can make employees disgruntled.

Dysfunction #4: Avoidance of Accountability 

When teams don’t commit to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven individuals hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that may seem counterproductive to the overall good of the team.

Dysfunction #5: Inattention to Results 

Team members naturally tend to put their own needs (ego, career development, recognition, etc.) ahead of the collective goals of the team when individuals aren’t held accountable. If a team has lost sight of the need for achievement, the business ultimately suffers.

I raise these insights not because I think the Brumbies suffer badly from these dysfunctions, but so we can be vigilant in not allowing them to sabotage our efforts and prevent good results. It’s worth asking ourselves once or twice a season whether any of these dysfunctions are raising their ugly heads. We pride ourselves on being family at the Brumbies, but even families can develop bad patterns of relating to one another. Every season our family changes. Even one new member makes a difference to the whole. This coming season we will have new coaches, management, admin staff, and players. So let’s work to develop trust among each another, so that we’re not afraid of constructive conflict, we build commitment, we increase accountability, and we achieve great results.

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