Pfrancing- how to deal with dysfunctional teams

18 02 2009

Regular readers will know that I (believe I) work in a severely dysfunctional unit. I have blogged before about the management approach to this. Those who have insight and QI type knowledge will of course know that

a) the ostrich never sticks it head in the sand as a coping strategy
b) Pfrancing is not a described management technique.

The truth is that an ostrich, when threatened, will simply run away. At at 155kg, with legs that can bend metal with a kick, the average ostritch in “flight” can probably average 6o km per hour.

Unfortunately, I think Pfrancing should become a recognised management technique and rather than the proverbial head in the sand, Pfrancing describes the real exit strategy of the ostrich.

The leadership fable ” The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick M. Lencioni is is an interesting read and I won’t spoil the ending for you. The ultimate sadness for me (not the divorce of the heroine, don’t worry) is that it is clear that the impetus and authority to managing and overcoming the dysfunctions of a team must come from external sources. A leadership role has to be taken by a person of both influence and authority for the group such that appropriate strategies can be worked through.

There is no suggestion that this will be easy, nor achieved in a short term but, if there is value placed on the team and its ultimate survival rather than decay into the mire of dysfunctionality, that strategy must be undertaken.

Our experience is that it was suggested that we might like to “talk things out”. The response was a whole set of preconditions and no date was agreed. That was over three months ago.

That’s Pfrancing for you though.

Have a listen to the man himself!













(I’m sorry this sounds so bitter, but expressing it certainly helps me cope.)

Dysfunctional? Nous? Pas moi!

5 01 2009

Decision Tech Inc. are in meltdown due to the interactions within the department and Kathryn Peterson is the surprise selection as the new CEO whose purpose is to lead the company from dysfunction to health. The reason she was selected was the belief that she was a good team leader.

Told in the form of a fable by Patrick Lencioni the book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” offers insight into how teams can work by pointing out how teams don’t work. Kathryn is the catalyst to this change as a leader.

The story rings bells all over town principally because so many of us work in teams within which so much more could be achieved with some attention to effective teamwork.

Lencioni lists the five dysfunctions that need to be addressed to allow effective team working.  They are:

1: Absence of Trust
2: Fear of Conflict
3: Lack of Commitment
4: Avoidance of Accountability
5: Inattention to Results

The detail of these can be found in the checklist I have put up here. Have a look, download it if you want but run through the list and see where your group are. Make sure you read both sides as one is not the direct opposite of the other. Scary how it defines just where you work isn’t it?

Then ask yourself what you are doing to turn things around.

Because that’s where it hurts.

Dysfunctionality is your problem. (really it’s mine but I can point the finger as I’m writing the blog.) Yes, there are problems of dominance and power and politics and aggression and your group will be no exception but as a leader it is your responsibility to start the change yourself.

I know, I know. That means me. Hey ho, New Year, new me.

Lencioni concludes

“…and imagine how members of truly cohesive teams behave:

1. They trust one another.
2. They engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas.
3. They commit to decisions and plans of action.
4. They hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans
5. They focus on the achievement of collective results.”

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