Business team having a meeting

Five Dysfunctions of a Team Exercises

by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Just how important is it for your executive team to be healthy and aligned? It is ESSENTIAL. It is so essential that The Rockefeller Habits Checklist (™) has it first in their list of ten habits. Does your executive team?




Over the last several years, I have been privileged to have been trusted to help many executives and management teams improve how they work together. Without question, the most powerful resource I have used is "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni.

I am often asked, "What Five Dysfunctions of a Team exercises can you share that can help me improve how my team works together?" 

This question suggests that the requester knows something fundamental about the power of the insights in the Five Dysfunctions of a Team; you must take action to reap the benefits.

Quite honestly, the following roadmap may or may not help improve your team. The following roadmap is intended to be more of a maintenance plan than a guide to turning your team around. In fact, if your team is particularly dysfunctional, any type of “self-medication” may be like trying to use a BAND AID® to fix a broken leg.

If you believe your team is particularly dysfunctional and/or are seeking a “hard reset” or to turn your team around, it is important to bring in an experienced facilitator to help you and your team navigate The Five Dysfunctions of a Team safely and properly. If you are wondering if you should go it alone or bring in a skilled facilitator, give me a call and we can discuss your situation. 

A mindset that separates good from great teams is a desire to continuously work on how they work together while respecting diversity of thought and perspective. This mindset is rare. 

To be clear, very few teams recognize the importance of working on how they work together. Accordingly, few teams purposefully work on how they work together. Instead, most wait until the friction becomes particularly unbearable and so expensive that they have little choice but to work on their dysfunction. The best teams understand that they must periodically and purposefully “slow down to speed up” by scheduling the essential time (at least quarterly) to work on how they work together. The best teams prioritize and protect time to work on how they work together, knowing that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

The best way to use this guide is if you and your team have actually been through a Five Dysfunctions of a Team Workshop or if your team truly has a relatively reduced level of dysfunction and seeks to improve continuously. The following guide and activities should be worked through over a period of several months so that your team may layer new awareness and skills as they work to improve and integrate Trust, Commitment, Accountability, and Results into how your team works together. 

Before you begin, it is highly recommended that you have each of your team members commit to actually reading the book. As a leader, consider re-reading the book multiple times. Obviously, it is essential to know the book well yourself. If you choose not to become deeply familiar with the content, it will show as you work with your team. Your team will take this endeavor as seriously as you do. 

 

The following materials are highly recommended:

For each team member: 

  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Book (hard copy or Kindle)
  • Five Dysfunctions of a Team Participant Workbook (highly-recommended)
  • Completed anonymous individual Team Assessment aggregated into a full Team Assessment Report (highly recommended)
  • The own completed Behavioral Style and Motivators Personality Assessment

For the team leader: 

Invest in these resources. While there are many places to attempt to save money, this is not one of them. I strongly recommend that the launch and each of the five retreats be hosted offsite and every team member receive a copy of their own book, their own workbook, and complete their own Team Assessment and Behavioral Style assessment.​ The results are very much worth the investment. 

 

Jump to:

Month 1: Launch the Program

Month 2: Building Trust

Month 3: Mastering Conflict

Month 4: Achieving Commitment

Month 5: Embracing Accountability

Month 6: Focusing on Results

 

Month 1: Launch the Program

The initial form of the proverb “the first step is the hardest” was actually recorded c. 1596 as “the first stretch [of a journey] is the worst,” in reference to a notoriously excruciating journey undertaken by St. Denis, the patron saint of France.

 

So, begin with the basics in your retreat. 

Have each team member read the book thoroughly. This is important. While book summaries can certainly be handy for quick reference during the team building, they are insufficient in fully preparing each team member for this change journey. Important subtleties will be missed by those who are “too busy” to read the book and instead read the book summary. There will be some on your team who view this team endeavor as vitally important to continuing to be a part of the team. It is important to respect their commitment. If you allow a “high performer” to get away with reading the summary only (or not at all), it will become obvious to those who have invested their time and energy into reading the full book. This speaks volumes and is actually reflective of your team’s dysfunction. And if you choose to read only the summary while others read the book, this speaks volumes and is also reflective of your team’s dysfunction.

If you, the leader, do not intend to read the book, I recommend you strongly consider not proceeding with leading this endeavor. 

Is it not ironic that the very foundation of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is vulnerability-based trust, and the very effort to build this level of trust may actually be hamstrung by a team member being “too busy” or too important to have read the entire book? 

You cannot make that up. Yet it happens all too often.

This is your time to throw down the gauntlet. Lay it on the line. Your team is watching. Do not miss this opportunity. 

If you really seek to prepare (and blow your team away), listen to the audio AND read the book. Every time you read/listen to the book, you will pick up on subtleties you had not picked up on previously. Your team will pick up on your awareness of these subtleties.

Next, have your team complete the Five Dysfunctions of a Team Assessment at minimum, and include an Individual Personality Assessment (Behavioral Style assessment) for best results. Contact me to get set up with the assessments you will need to be successful. 

Once your team’s aggregate Team Assessment is completed reflecting your team’s The Five Dysfunction of a Team scoring, it is time to launch. Speak from your heart. 

  • Ascertain the level of reading preparation that has or has not occurred with your team. This is best-done one-on-one prior to the launch. Do not be afraid to hit “reset” and reschedule the launch meeting until after every participating team member has completed their pre-work. Make a statement. 
  • Ask team members what they would like to accomplish during this six-month series of team effectiveness exercises. Capture their responses. 
  • Review the results from the team’s Five Dysfunctions Team Assessment Report to identify which Five Dysfunctions impact your team the most. You will find the Team Assessment Report to be quite prescriptive. This can literally take a couple of hours or more. Invest the time. 
    • Any observations?
    • Any surprises?
    • Go around the room - engage each team member.
    • If you run out of time - make sure you and your team get through page 10 of the Team Assessment Report.
  • Identify future retreat times. 

 

This is your opportunity to set the tone.

Your team will take this as seriously as you do. Be fair and respectful to those who may have been waiting for this opportunity for quite some time. Use this launch meeting and future retreats to earn buy-in and commitment from each and every team member. Set the tone for the rest of this journey and provide an overview of what the focus will be each month. The Five Dysfunctions journey can literally be the proverbial “fork in the road” for YOU AND your team. This endeavor is NOT for the faint of heart. If you and your team fail to prepare, you and your team are preparing to fail. Choosing to do this half-heartedly will cause far more harm than one may realize. 

 

Bring in an experienced facilitator.

The stakes are high. Time is expensive. Ensure the moose on the table is discussed. And…It is a heavy burden to wear the hat of leader, facilitator, and participant - particularly for subject matter this deep.

 

A note regarding the ideal team size.

From my experience, the larger the number of team members involved, the less likely it is a true team. I highly recommend this endeavor be completed within a true team only. Vulnerability-based trust is less likely to result if two or more teams are present. Furthermore, larger teams require significantly more time AND are almost always much more challenging to effectively engage without significant facilitation experience.

While intention certainly counts for something, it is important to get this as right as possible. My recommendations are based on almost 15 years of experience of facilitating The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Workshop. 

 

Month 2: Building Trust

It is highly recommended that you set aside the full morning through mid-afternoon for the first retreat - Building Trust. This is particularly important if you have more than 7 or 8 team members participating. The first Dysfunction, Trust, is always the longest to work through. 

 

Trust is the foundation of the other four dysfunctions.

Without Trust, your team will not be able to engage in unfiltered debate - Conflict. Without Conflict, your team will not be able to fully Commit to decisions. Do not speed through Trust. This is not a race. Your team will sense your degree of care and behave accordingly. 

 

Resist the urge to jump into a conflict during this retreat.

There often seems to be a team member or two who is chomping at the bit to engage in conflict immediately. Some view this type of workshop as the opportunity to get it all out. Others view this workshop in silent horror because they just know there will be a license to have conflict. Keep in mind people view and handle conflict differently based upon their life experiences and behavioral style. Do not expect your team to be ready for conflict during the first and even second retreat unless you and your team are already skilled, accustomed, and comfortable engaging in conflict.

The first retreat is absolutely not the time to get everything out on the table and have team members air their grievances with one another. Without enhanced trust and conflict norms, conflict can cause more damage than good - particularly if those who seemingly are more comfortable with (or even enjoy) conflict are allowed to run unchecked. 

 

Be mindful of your time together.

You will likely find that team members will go off on tangents. After all, there may be much for each team member to unpack emotionally. This is normal. I recommend doing what you can to respectfully keep everyone on track in terms of the activities. Knowing when to curb an increasingly off-track discussion can be a real challenge. If you follow all of the activities recommended in this document, your team will have much time to share their viewpoints and experiences. 

 

Do the work - complete the activities.

Should you run out of time yet have activities remaining for each retreat, I strongly recommend continuing where you left off during your next retreat. Accordingly, you may need to add more time to subsequent retreats depending upon the size of your team and how much your team goes off track. 

If you have read the book, you will notice that the section “Understanding and Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions (beginning on page 195) contains solid reference material that you may wish to use to frame your discussion during your retreat. 

 

Recommended pre-retreat preparation for you, the team leader:

  • Review your notes from the Launch. 
    • What went well? 
    • What did not go well? 
    • Did everyone participate? 
    • What can you do to encourage more participation by those who participated least? 
  • What went well? What did not go well? 
  • Consider re-reading the book or listening to the audio version. 
  • Invest 90 minutes of preparation reviewing pages 195-202 in the book and pages 26 and 27 in the Team Assessment Report for Tips & Exercise recommendations. 
  • Memorize the Five Dysfunctions cadence on page three of the Team Assessment Report. Know the Five Dysfunctions cadence literally forwards and backwards. 
  • If you have yet to order the Thumball Ice Breaker ball and Icebreaker Deck - strongly consider doing so in time for the next retreat. 
  • Complete the recommended pre-retreat preparation for team members (following).

Recommended pre-retreat preparation for team members: 

  • Require team members to review the Team Assessment Report “Team Culture Questions - Building Trust” Section (page 11) in detail. Have team members prepare their own notes and be prepared to share their perspectives from a place of preparation. 
    • Emphasize the importance of doing the pre-work prior to the next retreat.
    • Ask team members to review page three of the Team Assessment Report - The Five Dysfunctions cadence.
    • Ask team members to review pages 4-10 of the Team Assessment Report (particularly as the content relates to Trust). Be prepared to discuss during the retreat. 

 

Recommended half-day to full-day high-level flight plan:

Begin your half to full-day Trust retreat with a recap of the launch meeting and a personal histories exercise (or two or three). Continue this practice for each team effectiveness meeting. Lencioni shares common examples in his workbook as well as the book itself. An additional example of a personal histories exercise includes “two truths and a lie,” i.e., each person shares two factual and one fictional thing about themselves. Then, they share with the group, and the group guesses which is fact and which is fiction. 

IMPORTANT - Do not rush this activity. Honor the greatness in every team member by allowing them to share, acknowledge, and reflect as needed. Invest 60-75 minutes in personal histories activities. 

 

Read

Next, ask team members to turn to page three from their Team Assessment Report. Ask them to follow along as you read every word. Pause for emphasis. This is important. 

Recommendation - Read every word from this page forwards and then summarize backwards (results are not possible without Accountability, Accountability is less likely without Commitment, etc). Patrick Lencioni has created an incredibly powerful framework.

 

Discuss the Trust findings from the Team Assessment Report

Expect 30-45 minutes for this activity. Specifically:

  • Review pages 5-6 of the Team Assessment Report. Ask - “Why do you believe our team scored Trust the way we did?” Note - If the team is prepared, they will have answers. 
  • Review your team’s aggregate Trust scores on page 16 for familiarity.
  • Review page 7 of the Team Assessment Report - The Strongest Areas. Ask - “What do you notice with regard to our Strongest Areas?” - Note - Is Trust present? Why or why not? Observations?
  • Review page 8 of the Team Assessment Report - The Weakest Areas. Ask - “What do you notice with regard to our Weakest Areas?” - Note - Is Trust present? Why or why not? Observations?
  • Review pages 9-10 of the Team Assessment Report - Areas of Key Differences - “Observations?” - Note - Is Trust present? Go around the room - make sure each team member contributes to the dialogue.  
  • Review page 11 of the Team Assessment Report - Team Culture Questions - Building Trust - “What is needed to build trust?” - Group discussion - Go around the room - make sure each team member contributes to the dialogue. What are some action items?

 

Discuss the completed Behavioral Style Assessment of each team member

This is IMPORTANT - The completion of at least a Behavioral Style assessment by each team member is HIGHLY-RECOMMENDED. Contact my team if you are seeking a strongly recommended assessment for this powerful activity. Much of the conflict that occurs between team members is a result of a lack of awareness of one’s Behavioral Style and that of others. Without the benefit of self and interpersonal awareness that results from completion and review of a valid Behavioral Assessment, it will be difficult to impossible to fully build vulnerability-based Trust with your team. Please feel free to request a sample assessment. I do not recommend Meyer’s Briggs Type Indicator. 

If you and your team completed a Behavioral Style assessment, invest the remainder of the time available to become familiar with the core concepts of the Behavioral Science behind the assessment, as well as have each team member share their own assessment results with fellow team members. This is an essential contributor to building trust with your team. Do not skimp on a low or no-cost Behavioral Assessment. Again, call on me with questions. 

 

Recommended closing:

  • High-level recap. Re-reading page three - The Five Dysfunctions - from the Team Assessment Report.
  • What is the “to-do list”?
  • Go around the room. What are the closing thoughts of each team member?
  • Consider reading and discussing page 197 from the book.
    • “Members of teams with an absence of trust…”
    • “Members of trusting teams…” 
  • Share timing and pre-work for the next retreat. 

 

Month 3: Mastering Conflict

Did you get through all of the activities from Trust? If not, strongly consider proactively adding an hour or two or three to the second retreat. 

 

Recommended pre-retreat preparation for you, the team leader:

Do the work. Your team will notice.

  • Review your notes from the prior retreat. 
    • What went well? 
    • What did not go well? 
    • Did everyone participate? 
    • What can you do to encourage more participation by those who participated least?
    • What can you do to encourage participation? 
    • What missed Trust activities need to be added to this retreat? Do you need to adjust the time to allow for remaining Trust activities?
  • Consider re-reading the book or listening to the audio version. 
  • Invest 90 minutes of preparation reviewing pages 202-207 in the book and pages 28 and 29 in the Team Assessment Report for Tips & Exercise recommendations. 
  • Memorize the Five Dysfunctions cadence on page three of the Team Assessment Report. 
  • Complete the recommended pre-retreat preparation for team members (following).

 

Recommended pre-retreat preparation for team members: 

  • Require team members to review the Team Assessment Report “Team Culture Questions - Mastering Conflict” Section (page 12) in detail. Have team members prepare their own notes and be prepared to share their perspectives from a place of preparation. 
    • Emphasize the importance of doing the pre-work prior to the next retreat.
    • Ask team members to review page three of the Team Assessment Report - The Five Dysfunctions cadence. Be prepared to discuss during the retreat.
    • Ask team members to review pages 4-10 of the Team Assessment Report (particularly as the content relates to Conflict). Be prepared to discuss during the retreat. 

 

Recommended half-day to full-day high-level flight plan: 

Begin your half to full-day Conflict retreat with a recap of the Trust retreat and a personal histories exercise or two. Continue this practice for each team effectiveness meeting. Lencioni shares common examples in his workbook as well as the book itself. 

Should you run out of personal histories exercises, consider deploying the Thumball Icebreaker ball and/or Icebreaker Deck exercises. IMPORTANT - Do not rush this activity nor cut it out to “save time”. This is where Trust is improved. Honor the greatness in every team member by allowing them the opportunity to share, acknowledge and reflect as needed. Invest 60-75 minutes in personal histories activities (more with a larger team). 

 

Read

Next, ask team members to turn to page three from their Team Assessment Report. Ask them to follow along as you read every word. Pause for emphasis. This is important. Ask for your team member’s thoughts. Go around the room. Point - make sure team members are mindful that without Trust, unfiltered debate is difficult to impossible. Trust is a building block to Conflict. 

 

Discuss the Conflict findings from the Team Assessment Report

Expect 30-45 minutes for this activity. Specifically:

  • Review pages 5-6 of the Team Assessment Report. Ask - “Why do you believe our team scored Conflict the way we did?” Note - If the team prepared, they will have answers. 
  • Review your team’s aggregate Conflict scores on page 17 for familiarity.
  • Review page 7 of the Team Assessment Report - The Strongest Areas. Ask - “What do you notice with regard to our Strongest Areas?” - Note - Is Conflict present? Why or why not? Observations?
  • Review page 8 of the Team Assessment Report - The Weakest Areas. Ask - “What do you notice with regard to our Weakest Areas?” - Note - Is Conflict present? Why or why not? Observations?
  • Review pages 9-10 of the Team Assessment Report - Areas of Key Differences - “Observations?” - Note - Is Conflict present? Go around the room - make sure each team member contributes to the dialogue.  
  • Review page 12 of the Team Assessment Report - Team Culture Questions - Mastering Conflict - “What is acceptable behavior during conflict?” - Group discussion - Go around the room - make sure each team member contributes to the dialogue. What are some action items? Norms?

 

Discuss how their Behavioral Style assessments suggest how they may view and engage in conflict

For this retreat, team members should be prepared to discuss how their Behavioral Style assessments suggest how they may view and engage in conflict. This is a powerful opportunity to shape self and interpersonal awareness. Have each team member share their insights about themselves and better understand fellow team members with the goal of enhanced team communication and performance.

 

Establish conflict norms

Use page 12 (Team Culture Questions - Mastering Conflict - What is acceptable behavior during conflict) from the Team Assessment Report as a starting point. Each team member should define acceptable and unacceptable behaviors based on constructive conflict (i.e., stay focused on the problem, not the team member). Capture responses electronically as well as using a flip chart. Identify potential team conflict norms.

Assign a team member to be a “miner” of conflict. This person will be responsible for bringing sensitive issues to the surface and ensuring every team member contributes to the dialogue. Consider doing so during all meetings where important issues need to be surfaced and discussed. The team should use the insights from their Behavioral Style assessment and the conflict norms to discuss the sensitive issues brought forth by the designated conflict miner.

 

Recommended closing:

  • High-level recap. Re-read page three - The Five Dysfunctions - from the Team Assessment Report. Remember - forwards and backwards. 
  • What is the “to-do list”? What norms were agreed upon?
  • Go around the room. What are the closing thoughts of each team member?
  • Consider reading page 204 from the book.
    • “Teams that fear conflict…”
    • “Teams that engage in conflict…”
  • Share times and pre-work for the next retreat. 

 

Month 4: Achieving Commitment

Did you get through all of the activities from Trust and Conflict? If not, strongly consider proactively adding time to the third retreat. 

 

Recommended pre-retreat preparation for you, the team leader:

  • Review your notes from the prior retreat. 
    • What went well? 
    • What did not go well? 
    • Did everyone participate? 
    • What can you do to encourage more participation by those who participated least?
    • What can you do to encourage participation? 
    • What missed Trust/Conflict activities need to be added to this retreat? Do you need to adjust the time to allow for remaining Trust activities?
  • Consider re-reading the book or listening to the audio version. 
  • Invest 90 minutes of preparation reviewing pages 207-212 in the book and pages 30 and 31 in the Team Assessment Report for Tips & Exercise recommendations. 
  • Memorize the Five Dysfunctions cadence on page three of the Team Assessment Report. Can you recite the Five Dysfunctions cadence forwards and backwards?
  • Complete the recommended pre-retreat preparation for team members (following).

 

Recommended pre-retreat preparation for team members:

  • Require team members to review the Team Assessment Report “Team Culture Questions - Achieving Commitment” Section (page 13) in detail. Have team members prepare their own notes and be prepared to share their perspectives from a place of preparation. 
    • Emphasize the importance of doing the pre-work prior to the next retreat.
    • Ask team members to review page three of the Team Assessment Report - The Five Dysfunctions cadence. Be prepared to discuss during the retreat.
    • Ask team members to review pages 4-10 of the Team Assessment Report (particularly as the content relates to Commitment). Be prepared to discuss during the retreat. 

 

Recommended half-day to full-day high-level flight plan: 

Begin your half to full-day Commitment retreat with a recap of the Conflict retreat and a personal histories exercise or two. Continue this practice for each team effectiveness meeting. Lencioni shares common examples in his workbook as well as the book itself. 

Should you run out of personal histories exercises, consider deploying the Thumball Icebreaker ball and/or Icebreaker Deck. IMPORTANT - Do not rush this activity. Honor the greatness in every team member by allowing them to share, acknowledge, and reflect as needed. Invest 60-75 minutes in personal histories activities. 

 

Read

Next, ask team members to turn to page three from their Team Assessment Report. Ask them to follow along as you read every word. Pause for emphasis. This is important. Ask for your team member’s thoughts. Go around the room. Recite the Five Dysfunctions cadence beginning with Results and work your way down to Trust.

 

Discuss the Achieving Commitment findings from the Team Assessment Report

Expect 30-45 minutes for this activity. Specifically:

  • Review pages 5-6 of the Team Assessment Report. Ask - “Why do you believe our team scored Commitment the way we did?” Note - If the team is prepared, they will have answers. 
  • Review your team’s aggregate Commitment scores on page 18 for familiarity.
  • Review page 7 of the Team Assessment Report - The Strongest Areas. Ask - “What do you notice with regard to our Strongest Areas?” - Note - Is Commitment present? Why or why not? Observations?
  • Review page 8 of the Team Assessment Report - The Weakest Areas. Ask - “What do you notice with regard to our Weakest Areas?” - Note - Is Commitment present? Why or why not? Observations?
  • Review pages 9-10 of the Team Assessment Report - Areas of Key Differences - “Observations?” - Note - Is Commitment present? Go around the room - make sure each team member contributes to the dialogue.  
  • Review page 13 of the Team Assessment Report - Team Culture Questions - Achieving Commitment - What prevents team members from committing to decisions? - Group discussion - Go around the room - make sure each team member contributes to the dialogue. What are some action items?

 

Discuss how their Behavioral Style assessment suggests they view commitment

For this retreat, team members should be prepared to discuss how their Behavioral Style assessment suggests they view commitment. This is a powerful opportunity to shape self and interpersonal awareness. Have each team member share their insights about themselves and understand other members better with the goal of enhanced team commitment. If team members seem stuck - re-read page three from the Team Assessment Report. Do not stop until you are finished.

 

Establish commitment norms

Use page 13 (Team Culture Questions - Achieving Commitment - What norms seem important to put into place after reviewing the scoring?

Repetition is the motor of learning…Assign a team member to be a “miner” of conflict. This person will be responsible for bringing sensitive issues to the surface and ensuring every team member contributes to the dialogue. Consider doing so during all meetings where important issues need to be surfaced and discussed. The team should use the insights from their Behavioral Style assessment and the conflict norms to discuss the sensitive issues brought forth by the designated conflict miner.

Going into this meeting, leaders should acknowledge and understand that they are the drivers of commitment.

Review/share “Cascading Messaging” from page 210 of the book. Discuss why this is essential. Go around the room for discussion, feedback, and debate. Develop a norm around this. 

 

Recommended closing:

  • High-level recap. Re-read page three - The Five Dysfunctions - from the Team Assessment Report. Are some team members beginning to mouth the words with you? OUTSTANDING! KEEP READING.
  • What is the “to-do list”?
  • Go around the room. What are the closing thoughts of each team member?
  • Consider reading page 209 from the book.
    • A team that fails to commit…
    • A team that commits…
  • Share times and pre-work for the next retreat. 

 

Month 5: Embracing Accountability

Did you get through all of the activities from Trust, Conflict, and Commitment? If not, strongly consider proactively adding time to the fourth retreat. 

 

Recommended pre-retreat preparation for you, the team leader:

  • Review your notes from the prior retreat. 
    • What went well? 
    • What did not go well? 
    • Did everyone participate? 
    • What can you do to encourage more participation by those who participated least?
    • What can you do to encourage participation? 
    • What missed Trust/Conflict/Commitment activities need to be added to this retreat? Do you need to adjust the time to allow for remaining activities?
  • Consider re-reading the book or listening to the audio version. 
  • Invest 90 minutes of preparation reviewing pages 212-216 in the book. 
  • Review page 32 in the Team Assessment Report for Tips & Exercise recommendations. 
  • Memorize the Five Dysfunctions cadence on page three of the Team Assessment Report. 
  • Purchase a copy of the book, “The Advantage” by Patrick Lencioni, for each team member for distribution during the last retreat. Read the book prior. 
  • Complete the recommended pre-retreat preparation for team members (following).

 

Recommended pre-retreat preparation for team members: 

  • Require team members to review the Team Assessment Report “Team Culture Questions - Embracing Accountability” Section (page 14) in detail. Have team members prepare their own notes and be prepared to share their perspectives from a place of preparation. 
    • Emphasize the importance of doing the pre-work prior to the next retreat.
    • Ask team members to review page three of the Team Assessment Report - The Five Dysfunctions cadence. Be prepared to discuss during the retreat. Can they recite the cadence forwards and backwards?
    • Ask team members to review pages 4-10 of the Team Assessment Report (particularly as the content relates to Accountability). Be prepared to discuss during the retreat. 

 

Recommended half-day to full-day high-level flight plan: 

Begin your half to full-day Accountability retreat with a recap of the Commitment retreat and a personal histories exercise or two. Continue this practice for each team effectiveness meeting. Lencioni shares common examples in his workbook as well as the book itself. 

Should you run out of personal histories exercises, consider deploying the Thumball Icebreaker ball and/or Icebreaker Deck. You wish to begin with an icebreaker and THEN have the team complete a personal histories exercise. IMPORTANT - Do not rush this activity. Honor the greatness in every team member by allowing them to share, acknowledge and reflect as needed. Invest 60-75 minutes in personal histories activities. 

 

Read

Next, ask team members to turn to page three from their Team Assessment Report. Ask them to follow along as you read every word. Pause for emphasis. This is important. Ask for your team member’s thoughts. Go around the room. Forwards and backwards. 

 

Discuss the Embracing Accountability findings from the Team Assessment Report

Expect 30-45 minutes for this activity. Specifically:

  • Review pages 5-6 of the Team Assessment Report. Ask - “Why do you believe our team scored Accountability the way we did?” Note - If the team is prepared, they will have answers. 
  • Review your team’s aggregate Accountability scores on page 19 for familiarity.
  • Review page 7 of the Team Assessment Report - The Strongest Areas. Ask - “What do you notice with regard to our Strongest Areas?” - Note - Is Accountability present? Why or why not? Observations?
  • Review page 8 of the Team Assessment Report - The Weakest Areas. Ask - “What do you notice with regard to our Weakest Areas?” - Note - Is Accountability present? Why or why not? Observations?
  • Review pages 9-10 of the Team Assessment Report - Areas of Key Differences - “Observations?” - Note - Is Accountability present? Go around the room - make sure each team member contributes to the dialogue.  
  • Review page 14 of the Team Assessment Report - Team Culture Questions - Embracing Accountability - What would increase your team’s ability to hold one another accountable? - Group discussion - Go around the room - make sure each team member contributes to the dialogue. What are some action items?

 

Discuss how their Behavioral Style assessments suggest they view accountability

This is a powerful opportunity to shape self and interpersonal awareness. Have each team member share their insights about themselves and understand other members better with regard to embracing accountability. If team members seem stuck - re-read page three from the Team Assessment Report. Do not stop until you are finished.

 

Establish accountability norms

Use page 14 (Team Culture Questions - Embracing Accountability - What norms seem important to put into place after reviewing the scoring?

Repetition is the motor of learning…Assign a team member to be a “miner” of conflict. This person will be responsible for bringing sensitive issues to the surface and ensuring every team member contributes to the dialogue. Consider doing so during all meetings where important issues need to be surfaced and discussed. The team should use the insights from their Behavioral Style assessment and the conflict norms to discuss the sensitive issues brought forth by the designated conflict miner.

  • Review/share “Publication of Goals and Standards” from page 214 of the book. Discuss why this is essential. Go around the room for discussion, feedback, and debate. Develop a norm around this. 
  • Review/share “Simple and Regular Progress Reviews” from page 214 of the book. Discuss why this is essential. Go around the room for discussion, feedback, and debate. Develop a norm around this. 
  • Review/share “Team Rewards” from page 215 of the book. Discuss why this is essential. Go around the room for discussion, feedback, and debate. Develop a norm around this. 

Make commitments, stick with accountability.

Use feedback to create a culture of accountability. Use 3-3-1 Feedback Loops on a monthly or bimonthly basis. Have each team member share the following: 

  • Three things going well
  • Three things not going well
  • One thing they need help with

Spend time identifying key meetings and dialogues where you want to add accountability. Schedule time for 3-3-1 Feedback Loops.

 

Recommended closing:

  • High-level recap. Re-read page three - The Five Dysfunctions - from the Team Assessment Report. Are team members mouthing the words with you? OUTSTANDING! KEEP READING.
  • What is the “to-do list”?
  • Go around the room. What are the closing thoughts of each team member?
  • Consider reading page 214 from the book.
    • A team that avoids accountability…
    • A team that holds one another accountable…
  • Share times and pre-work for the next retreat. 

Month 6: Focusing on Results

Did you get through all of the activities from Trust, Conflict, Commitment, and Accountability? If not, strongly consider proactively adding time to the fifth retreat. 

 

Recommended pre-retreat preparation for you, the team leader:

  • Review your notes from the prior retreat. 
    • What went well? 
    • What did not go well? 
    • Did everyone participate? 
    • What can you do to encourage more participation by those who participated least?
    • What can you do to encourage participation? 
    • What missed Trust/Conflict activities need to be added to this retreat? Do you need to adjust the time to allow for remaining Trust activities?
  • Consider re-reading the book or listening to the audio version. 
  • Invest 90 minutes of preparation reviewing pages 216-220 in the book and page 33 in the Team Assessment Report for Tips & Exercise recommendations. 
  • Memorize the Five Dysfunctions cadence on page three of the Team Assessment Report. 
  • Complete the recommended pre-retreat preparation for team members (following).

 

Recommended pre-retreat preparation for team members:

  • Require team members to review the Team Assessment Report “Team Culture Questions - Focusing on Results” Section (page 15) in detail. Have team members prepare their own notes and be prepared to share their perspectives from a place of preparation. 
    • Emphasize the importance of doing the pre-work prior to the next retreat.
    • Ask team members to review page three of the Team Assessment Report - The Five Dysfunctions cadence. Be prepared to discuss during the retreat.
    • Ask team members to review pages 4-10 of the Team Assessment Report (particularly as the content relates to Results). Be prepared to discuss during the retreat. 

 

Recommended half-day to full-day high-level flight plan: 

Consider adding an hour at the end of this final retreat to discuss feedback regarding the launch and five retreat sessions. 

Begin your half to full-day Results retreat with a recap of the Accountability retreat and a personal histories exercise or two. Continue this practice for each team effectiveness meeting. Lencioni shares common examples in his workbook as well as the book itself. 

Should you run out of personal histories exercises, consider deploying the Thumball Icebreaker ball and/or Icebreaker Deck. IMPORTANT - Do not rush this activity. Honor the greatness in every team member by allowing them time to share, acknowledge and reflect as needed. Invest 60-75 minutes in personal histories activities. 

 

Read

Next, ask team members to turn to page three from their Team Assessment Report. Ask them to follow along as you read every word. Pause for emphasis. This is important. Ask for your team member’s thoughts. Go around the room. 

 

Discuss the Focusing on Results findings from the Team Assessment Report

Expect 30-45 minutes for this activity. Specifically:

  • Review pages 5-6 of the Team Assessment Report. Ask - “Why do you believe our team scored Results the way we did?” Note - If the team is prepared, they will have answers. 
  • Review your team’s aggregate Results scores on page 20 for familiarity.
  • Review page 7 of the Team Assessment Report - The Strongest Areas. Ask - “What do you notice with regard to our Strongest Areas?” - Note - Is Results present? Why or why not? Observations?
  • Review page 8 of the Team Assessment Report - The Weakest Areas. Ask - “What do you notice with regard to our Weakest Areas?” - Note - Is Results present? Why or why not? Observations?
  • Review pages 9-10 of the Team Assessment Report - Areas of Key Differences - “Observations?” - Note - Is Results present? Go around the room - make sure each team member contributes to the dialogue.  
  • Review page 14 of the Team Assessment Report - Team Culture Questions - Focusing on Results - What distractions keep the team from focusing on results? - Group discussion - Go around the room - make sure each team member contributes to the dialogue. What are some action items?

 

Discuss how their Behavioral Style assessments suggest they view focusing on results

For this retreat, team members should be prepared to discuss how their Behavioral Style assessments suggest they view focusing on results (are team members more focused on results and not the path of Trust - Conflict - Commitment - Accountability?). This is a powerful opportunity to shape self and interpersonal awareness. Have each team member share their insights about themselves and understand other members better with the goal of focusing on results (the right way). If team members seem stuck - re-read page three from the Team Assessment Report. Do not stop until you are finished.

 

Discuss distractions and results

Next, get crystal clear about distractions that keep the team from focusing on results. Use page 15 (Team Culture Questions - Focusing on Results - What norms seem important to put into place after reviewing the scoring?)

Repetition is the motor of learning…Assign a team member to be a “miner” of conflict. This person will be responsible for bringing sensitive issues to the surface and ensuring every team member contributes to the dialogue. Consider doing so during all meetings where important issues need to be surfaced and discussed. The team should use the insights from their Behavioral Style assessment and the conflict norms to discuss the sensitive issues brought forth by the designated conflict miner.

Go around the room for discussion, feedback, and debate. 

  • Ask - “Does this team seem more individual or team-focused?”
  • Ask - “What are the consequences of individual or team-focus?”

Review/share pages 218-219 - your overview of “Public Declaration of Results” and “Results-Based Rewards.” Go around the room for discussion, feedback, and debate. Develop a norm around this.

 

Recommended closing:

  • High-level recap. Re-read page three - The Five Dysfunctions - from the Team Assessment Report. Are some team members mouthing the words with you or does it sound like a Gregorian chant? Stop. Ask everyone to read the words with you. 
  • What is the “to-do list”?
  • Go around the room. What are the closing thoughts of each team member? 
  • Consider reading page 218 from the book.
    • A team that is not focused on results…
    • A team that focuses on collective results…
  • Feedback for the launch and five retreats?
    • Norms?
    • What went well?
    • What did not go well?
    • What will the team commit to in the future?
  • Read page 77 - “Six Critical Questions” from “The Advantage” by Patrick Lencioni. Ask each team member to score each question - go around the room and capture the scores. Observations? Discuss.

 

Next Steps: Commit to Now and to the Long-Term

The best thing you can do for your Team is to begin this process now.

However, as you move through the exercises, remember that you are on a mediocrity path if you are not on a path of continuous self-reflection, accountability, and improvement.

In short: do not perform these exercises in isolation but on a continuum. For example, if your team lacks Commitment, it is probably due to the Absence of Trust. Refer back to previous sessions as needed to build momentum and weave a common thread through your exploration of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

If you are genuinely committed and seek to overcome the Five Dysfunctions of a Team in two days with the help of an experienced facilitator, reach out to speak to a consultant.

If you are seeking more advanced exercises to address dysfunction in your team, consider investing in Patrick Lencioni’s full Five Dysfunctions of a Team Facilitator Guide (second edition) that may be found on Amazon.

Lastly. Have your team read Lencioni’s “The Advantage” to help keep the momentum going.

Leaders are readers…