Also by Patrick Lencioni Leadership Fables The Five Temptations of a CEO The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive Death by Meeting Silos, Politics. The FIVE Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. Members of dysfunctional teams Dysfunctions and ways to Overcome each one. Members of trusting. In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, renowned author Patrick Lencioni turns his Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions that are at the very heart of why teams.
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Patrick Lencioni. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass (). Teamwork ultimately comes down to practicing a small set of principles over a long period of time. Success. By Patrick Lencioni. Positive Approach: 1. They trust one another. 2. They engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas. 3. They commit to decisions and plans of. THE OFFICIAL GUIDE TO CONDUCTING THE FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS. WORKSHOPS FOR TEAMS AND TEAM LEADERS. PATRICK LENCIONI.
Namely, a five-sectioned pyramid which should look something like this. Absence of trust is the foundation of all dysfunctions. And the root of it is the inability and unwillingness of employees to be vulnerable and open to each other. Teams which share personal insights and experiences always show better results! Conflict is nothing bad. Artificial harmony does nobody any good. So, dare to disagree. Healthy conflict usually results in commitment.
Lack of conflict and discussion, in other words, means lack of commitment to the final decision. Of course, you need to take full responsibility, i. The worst thing that can happen to a team is to become a group of individuals.
Trust Each Other 2. Master the Art of Disagreement 3. Fully Commit to an Agreed Plan of Action 4. Hold Yourself and Others Accountable for that Plan 5. Focus on the Collective Result.
First of all, it should be a group of people who trust each other. They are in it together, and they need to have that in mind at all times. They must accept the risk of being vulnerable — in the name of the higher cause. Teams built on trust know that disagreements are the only way to make some progress. And commitment brings responsibility with itself. Finally, cohesive team means a many-minded organism which functions as if a single mind.
And though he certainly never said so to any of his peers, Nick felt he was the only executive in the company qualified to be CEO.
But that would become obvious soon enough. And the note itself was short. The most damaging ones usually are. That it was not addressed to anyone in particular, but was sent to the entire executive staff, only belied its incendiary potential: Just received a call from ASA Manufacturing.
JR and I will be going down to meet with them next week. Could be a big opportunity. She resisted the temptation to avoid a confrontation with Martin by firing off an e-mail reply.
Kathryn decided that this would be her first moment of truth as a CEO, and moments of truth, she knew, are best handled face-to-face. Kathryn found Martin sitting in his corner office reading e-mail. This is a potential sales opportunity. We need to be out there selling.
After an awkward five seconds, Kathryn finished the conversation. He sits on the Trinity board with me, and he owes me a favor. Though Martin decided not to push any further for the moment, he was not through fighting. She had planned to run an errand during that time, but happily shifted her schedule to accommodate one of her direct reports.
The oldest Mexican restaurant in Half Moon Bay was as good a spot as any for a difficult conversation, he thought, because mostly locals ate there.
Before Jeff could broach the topic he wanted to discuss, Kathryn took care of some business of her own. She continued. You should participate as fully as any other staff member. Straightening his silverware nervously, he began. And because she had anticipated a question about her run-in with Martin, she was calm and confident. This time she did, but only to prompt him to continue.
And so, if he and JR missed the first day or so of the off-site, I think we would be okay. And one sales meeting is not going to have a meaningful impact on our future, at least not until we straighten out the leadership problems around here. The two of them then engaged in small talk and ate one of the fastest lunches in Half Moon Bay history before heading back to the office. She had certainly expected some backlash about the Martin incident from her inherited staff.
When he reached her at home that evening, she initially assumed he was calling to give her support. This is important. Am I right? Are you prepared for the consequences of letting me do this right? Or pretty. Not for the company. Not for the executives. Not for me. And not for you. Kathryn interpreted his silence as permission to continue her pointed lecture. And the rebreak hurts a lot more than the initial break, because you have to do it on purpose.
Do whatever you have to do. How much of this team are you going to have to rebreak? And regardless of how many times people have been there, it always seems to make them slow down a pace or two.
The hotel where the meeting would take place was a small inn located in the town of Yountville. Kathryn liked it because it was reasonably priced during the off-season and had just one large and comfortable conference room. It was on the second floor, had its own balcony, and overlooked acres of vineyards.
The meeting was to start at 9: Everyone but Martin, that is. Even Kathryn seemed a bit nervous. Did she have that kind of political capital with the board? How valuable is this guy, anyway? When Martin came through the door at 8: She took comfort in knowing that she was finally about to begin what she had been waiting to do for almost a month. And as concerned as she was about the attitudes of the people sitting around the table, Kathryn could not deny that moments like this were a big part of why she loved being a leader.
As soon as he sat down, he removed his laptop computer from its case and put it on the table in front of him, leaving it closed for the moment. Determined not to be distracted, Kathryn smiled at her staff and addressed them calmly and gracefully. We have more cash than they do.
Thanks to Martin and his team, we have better core technology. And we have a more powerful board of directors. Yet in spite of all that, we are behind two of our competitors in terms of both revenue and customer growth. Can anyone here tell me why that is? In fact, we are quite dysfunctional. He seemed fine, but Kathryn picked up on the tension. One that we are going to begin addressing over these next two days.
And, yes, I know how ridiculous and unbelievable it feels for you to be out of the office for so many days this month. But by the end of it all, everyone who is still here will understand why this is so important.
It is my expectation that next year and the year after that, we will be able to look back on revenue growth, profitability, customer retention, and satisfaction, and if the market is right for it, maybe even an IPO.
But I can promise you that none of that will happen if we do not address the issues that are preventing us from acting like a team. In fact, it will seem remarkably simple on paper. The trick is putting it into practice. Kathryn was used to this and continued.
And if that sounds touchy-feely, let me explain, because there is nothing soft about it. It is an absolutely critical part of building a team. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal. Kathryn pushed on. Kathryn smiled.
Feel free to jump in any time. Specific comments from the board, employees, even many of you. Until Kathryn clarified. Kathryn continued to direct her explanation toward him.
Even the most trusting teams mixed it up a lot. Then Mikey mumbled something under her breath. But she decided to let things go. After a pause, Carlos chimed in gently, but without directing his comments at Mikey, as though the entire group had made the remark. I agree that meetings have been pretty dull and that the agenda is usually a little too full.
But I think we all could have challenged each other more. Kathryn joined the livening conversation. And then the typing sound began. Martin, now completely checked out of the conversation, was banging away at his keyboard like, well, like a computer programmer.
Distracted by the sound, everyone in the room glanced at Martin for a nanosecond. And that was enough to kill whatever momentum the conversation had generated. Kathryn had both relished this moment and dreaded it from the first staff meeting she had observed. And as much as she wanted to avoid another run-in with Martin, especially so early in the day, she would not let the opportunity pass her by. No one really thought she would say anything. The room froze, waiting anxiously for the answer to the question they had been wanting to ask for the past two years.
Kathryn remained calm and continued to speak in a measured tone. He asked a question, but in a slightly conciliatory tone that the group was not accustomed to hearing from their chief scientist.
Sometimes it seems that we talk about issues that would best be handled off-line. Kathryn went on. I mean, maybe not in the automotive world, but. I had the same issue there. And with that, Martin closed his laptop and put it in his computer case.
More than one of the staff members looked at Kathryn as if she had just talked a bank robber into handing over his gun. If only the rest of the day would be so easy. It was no accident that it was the first real exercise on the agenda. Number of kids in the family? Interesting childhood hobbies? Biggest challenge growing up? First job? Almost to a person, every set of answers contained a gem or two that few, if any, of the other executives knew. Mikey studied ballet at the Juilliard School in New York.
Jeff had been a batboy for the Boston Red Sox. Martin spent much of his childhood in India. JR has an identical twin brother. Jan was a military brat. As for Kathryn, her staff seemed most surprised and impressed not by her military training or automotive experience, but by the fact that she had been an All-American volleyball player in college.
It was really quite amazing. After just forty-five minutes of extremely mild personal disclosure, the team seemed tighter and more at ease with each other than at any time during the past year.
But Kathryn had been through this enough to know that the euphoria would diminish as soon as the conversation shifted to work. They spent the next several hours, working through lunch, reviewing their individual behavioral tendencies according to a variety of diagnostic tools that they had completed before coming to Napa. One of these was the MyersBriggs Type Indicator. Kathryn was pleasantly surprised that even Martin seemed to be engaged in the discussion.
But then again, she reasoned, everyone likes to learn about—and talk about—themselves. Until the criticism comes, that is. And it was about to come. So she gave them a break for a few hours in the afternoon, to check e-mail, exercise, or do whatever else they wanted.
Nick, Jeff, Carlos, and JR played bocce ball on the court next to the hotel, and Kathryn and Jan met in the lobby to talk about budgets. Mikey sat by the pool and read a novel. When they returned around dinnertime, Kathryn was pleased to see them pick up the conversation where it had ended earlier.
By now, everyone had acknowledged their different interpersonal styles at work and discussed the implications of being an introvert versus an extrovert and other similar qualities. They all were definitely loosening up. People were eating pizza and beer, which made everything seem less threatening. Worse yet, no one teased her at all. In fact, they made no comments about her, and unsurprisingly, she made almost none about them. Kathryn wanted to bring her into the process but decided not to be too aggressive so soon.
Things were going well—better than she had expected—and the team seemed willing to talk about some of the dysfunctional behaviors that Kathryn had observed during staff meetings. There was no need to create a controversy on the first night, especially after already having dodged a few bullets with Martin.
When Nick remarked to the group that he found the personality descriptions to be amazingly accurate and helpful, Mikey did what she so often did during staff meetings: Kathryn was just about to call her on her behavior, when Nick beat her to it. You rolled your eyes. Did I say something stupid? It was the look on your face. You do it all the time. Out of nowhere, Mikey responded. But Martin beat her to it. But coming from Martin and directed at Mikey in his dry, sarcastic accent, it made everyone howl.
Except, of course, Mikey, who just sat there smiling painfully. For a moment Kathryn thought her marketing VP would walk out.
That might have been better than what she did. Eventually, the topic naturally drifted toward more tactical topics related to the business. It gives us a chance to see how we put this into action.
Those guys have no idea about how to make a company successful. I think they need to hear what you think. Mikey ended the conversation with a sarcastic laugh. We have more cash, more experienced executives, better technology, and more connections than any of our competitors, and yet at least two of them are ahead of us in the market. Our job is to increase revenue, profitability, and customer acquisition and retention and maybe even put ourselves in a position for an IPO.
It was as if they were hearing it for the first time. For the next few hours, the group reviewed the material they had covered the previous day. After an hour or so, Martin and Nick seemed to be losing a little interest, and JR became more distracted each time his cell phone vibrated and went unanswered.
Kathryn decided to address their concerns before they started talking among themselves. Mikey made few comments, and whenever she did speak, the flow of conversation seemed to slow dramatically.
Martin too said little, but seemed to be paying attention and following the conversation nonetheless. By midmorning, they had completed their review of interpersonal styles and team behaviors.
And then, with less than an hour until lunch, Kathryn decided to introduce the most important exercise of the day, one that she would look back on later as a moment of truth for Mikey and the rest of the team.
And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability. Take this simple exercise seriously, and be willing to put yourself out there. I have a way of eliminating unnecessary details and getting to the heart of an issue, and that should save us a lot of time. She liked that.
Everyone was looking around—some hoping that one of their peers would volunteer, others seeming to ask permission to step forward. Finally, Nick broke the ice.
My biggest weakness, however, is that I sometimes come across as arrogant. He smiled and continued. She was glad he went first. Then she admitted being more conservative about finances than the CFO of a start-up should be. She explained that this was a result of her training at larger companies and her concern that her peers were not concerned enough about managing expenses.
Jeff went next. He struggled in his attempt to call out his amazing networking skills and ability to build partnerships with investors and partners. And so I tend to over-engineer things and do them myself. For a moment, she began to entertain hopes that the momentum would continue and the day would be a runaway hit. And then Mikey spoke. My biggest weakness is my poor financial skills. No comments.
No questions. Like Kathryn, most everyone in the room was torn between two emotions: Mikey had to do it herself. With every second that went by, the group quietly begged for someone to break the silence. Carlos put them out of their misery. After he finished, Jan jumped in. Jan continued. You hold back too much.
The room howled again. But I think that hurts the team. Does that make sense? Inside, he was melting.
Kathryn would later kick herself for not calling Mikey on her remark, which at the time Kathryn attributed to her astonishingly low emotional intelligence. None of them could have guessed that another member of the team was struggling as much as she was. Kathryn described the next dysfunction by going to the white board and writing the phrase inattention to results at the top of the triangle.
The key is to make the collective ego greater than the individual ones. No matter how good an individual on the team might be feeling about his or her situation, if the team loses, everyone loses.
Anyway, he is all about the team. They win because they play team basketball, and that usually allows them to beat bigger, faster, more talented groups of players. Or at least not the results of the team. I remember a kid a few years ago who was interested only in his own statistics and whether he received individual recognition: All-League, picture in the paper, that sort of stuff. If the team lost, he would be in a good mood as long as he was getting his points.
But Ken benched him.
The team played better without him, and he eventually quit. For every kid like that one, there are ten who never made it. But she decided that a little impromptu discussion was probably as valuable for the team as anything else, as long as it had something to do with teamwork. Jeff went around the room, giving every person a chance to respond to his question. Nick reported that he had played baseball in college.
Carlos was a linebacker in high school. Mikey said she ran track in high school. Jan reported that she was a cheerleader and a member of the dance team. Jeff confessed his lack of athletic aptitude. I never played sports much, even as a kid. But I was in a band in high school and college, and I think I figured out the team thing from that.
First of all, you can definitely learn teamwork from lots of different activities, pretty much anything that involves a group of people working together.
But there is a reason that sports are so prevalent when it comes to teams. This time it was Martin. There is little room for ambiguity, which means there is little room for. They just want to win. More than making the All-Star team, more than getting their picture on a box of Wheaties, and yes, more than making money. The teams that figure it out have a bigger advantage than ever before because most of their competitors are just a bunch of individuals looking out for themselves.
But Kathryn wanted to encourage her in any way she could, though she was already starting to doubt the likelihood of turning her around. This has everything to do with us. You see, we are going to make our collective results as important as the score at a football game. Mikey nodded and made a face as if to say, What else?
Kathryn continued, patiently. So let me make this simple. Our job is to make the results that we need to achieve so clear to everyone in this room that no one would even consider doing something purely to enhance his or her individual status or ego.
Because that would diminish our ability to achieve our collective goals. We would all lose. Profit is not actionable enough.
It needs to be more closely related to what we do on a daily basis. By combining some and eliminating others, they narrowed them to seven: Unfortunately, now that the discussion was turning back toward the business, some of the levity in the room seemed to evaporate. As usual, it would be replaced by criticism. Martin began. JR piled on. As soon as the reality of business problems is reintroduced to a situation like this one, she thought, people revert back to the behaviors that put them in the difficult situation in the first place.
But she was ready. Can you tell me what our market awareness goal for last quarter was? I can tell you what our product development dates are, though. Then just tell me how we did in terms of public relations activity? He seemed puzzled. I assume that Jeff and Mikey talk about that stuff.
And he did so sarcastically. I always thought that the purpose of marketing was to drive sales. As frustrated as everyone was at that moment, Kathryn was sure that a much-needed melee was about to ensue. But just like that, the conversation came to a halt. And died. So this is how it works, she thought to herself. I would pitch in whenever I could, but otherwise, I let them be accountable for their own areas. And I dealt with their issues on a one-on-one basis whenever I could. Not just JR.
All of you are responsible for marketing. Not just Mikey. All of you are responsible for product development, customer service, and finance. Maybe we need more heavy hitters who can get us into the right accounts, and develop the right strategic partnerships. Kathryn did. Why do you think that they are making more progress than you are? And Telecart is getting most of its revenue from professional services at this point. But could you start saying us and we instead of you? Thanks for calling me on it.
Sometimes I feel like a consultant myself. Right away she could sense the people in the room banding together to challenge her harsh critique. Even Jeff took issue. This might be a function of your not having worked in high tech. Nick fired away. Keep in mind, this is a tough market. Kathryn waited until no more comments came, and then responded. But only for the good of the team, not for my own satisfaction. I can assure you of that. It was confusion.
Martin, as serious as ever, cut through the tension. Jeff just smiled and nodded his head. As compelling as the points she was making were, Kathryn could see that members of the group were still trying to decide whether to embrace her ideas, or attack them. It became immediately clear that the next move would be an attack. Maybe even a compliment if it were offered in the spirit of true curiosity.
But in that moment, with the tone in which it was asked, and given the usually mellow nature of the person who posed the question, it was the harshest comment thus far of the off-site. Had Kathryn been a less secure executive, she would have been rocked by the remark. And for a moment, she almost let herself get disappointed that the goodwill she thought she was generating had dissipated so quickly.
But then she realized that this was precisely what she needed in order to provoke real change in the group: Just above absence of trust she wrote fear of conflict. And not a lot of harmony, I might add. You have tension.
But there is almost no constructive conflict. Harmony itself is good, I suppose, if it comes as a result of working through issues constantly and cycling through conflict. Kathryn pressed her luck. Your frustration sometimes surfaces in the form of subtle comments, but more often than not, it is bottled up and carried around. Kathryn was ready to take them on, but Jan and Carlos stepped in for her. First Jan. How long have we been talking about outsourcing IT? I think it comes up at every meeting, and half of us are for it, half are against it, and so it just sits there because no one wants to piss anyone off.
Kathryn went back to the white board. Sounds like something my wife complained about before we got married. Kathryn was ready for the reaction.
They just need to be heard, and to know that their input was considered and responded to. Kathryn went to the board to fill in the last empty box. Before she could, Martin had opened his laptop and started typing. Everyone froze. Kathryn stopped and looked at her chief technologist, who seemed clueless about the new sense of tension in the room.
And then suddenly it dawned on him. Kathryn laughed, pleased that her engineer was suddenly enthusiastic about what was going on. We believe you. JR was big enough to admit it.
Kathryn was glad to oblige. She went to the board for the last time and wrote avoidance of accountability. Jan did it for him: Before Kathryn could answer, Nick explained. And who am I to tell Martin how to do his job, or Mikey, or Jan?
On that note, Kathryn excused the team for their last break of the day. In theory, with Mikey and Martin now seemingly on board, it should have been relatively easy to make the team work.
But Kathryn knew that reality did not usually match theory; she still had a long way to go. Two years of behavioral reinforcement around politics is a tough thing to break, and one lecture, no matter how compelling, is not going to do it.
The painful, heavy lifting was still to come. With just a few hours until the end of the first off-site, Kathryn was tempted to end the session early and send everyone back to work on a relative high.
But that would have been a waste of two critical hours, she thought. But Kathryn was actually looking forward to this part. If we cannot learn to engage in productive, ideological conflict during meetings, we are through. Our ability to engage in passionate, unfiltered debate about what we need to do to succeed will determine our future as much as any products we develop or partnerships we sign. Even the bad ones. But if you really think about it, meetings should be at least as interesting as movies.
My son, Will, went to film school, and I learned from him that meetings and movies have a lot in common. A movie, on average, runs anywhere from ninety minutes to two hours in length. Staff meetings are about the same. Are they actually starting to like me? Kathryn wondered in a brief and uncharacteristic moment of insecurity. She went on. And yet meetings are both interactive and relevant. We get to have our say, and the outcome of any given discussion often has a very real impact on our lives.
So why do we dread meetings? And to understand why, all we need to do is compare them to films. Kathryn continued. What is that ingredient? Every great movie has conflict.
Before we leave this meeting, we are going to establish something I call our overarching goal for the rest of the year. Someone take a stab. The question we need to answer is this: If we do anything between now and the end of the year, what should that be?
Kathryn called them out. What are you thinking? And yet, they are getting more traction than we are. Jan persisted. Even Jan nodded in concession. Kathryn made a quick comment. Keep going. Mikey rolled her eyes. We just need to sell. What do you think, JR?
That seems like a distraction more than anything else—at least until we get rolling and the market takes shape. It all seems academic to me. Does anyone here believe that the key to the next nine months has something to do with market share, customers, revenue, et cetera? JR, how about you? But frankly, I think that is far less important at this point than proving to the world that there are customers out there who are interested in our products.
Revenue is not as important as closing deals and getting new customers. We will definitely have a revenue goal. Someone tell me why market share is the right answer. They want marquee company names and people who are willing to vouch for us. Kathryn challenged her. Someone tell me why this should be our collective, overarching goal. Carlos volunteered. It will give our employees confidence. It will provide more product feedback for Martin and his engineers. And it will give us references to go out and get more customers next year.
She wanted specifics. Jan lobbied for the most, followed by Nick and Mikey. JR was frustrated and argued hard for the fewest, wanting to keep his quota low so as not to discourage his salespeople. Jeff, Carlos, and Martin were somewhere in between. As the debate seemed to be running out of steam, Kathryn jumped in. And we are probably not going to agree completely, which is fine, because there is no science here. And JR, I can appreciate your desire to keep your folks motivated, but ten is not enough.
Our competitors are doing more than double that, and the analysts will throw up all over us if we come in at ten. We will have eighteen new customers by December Over the next hour they drilled down on the issue of new customers, discussing what each person, from marketing to finance to engineering, would need to do to make eighteen deals possible.
With fifteen minutes to spare before the off-site was to officially end, Kathryn decided to bring things to a close. Kathryn asked one final question.
She decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and take the muted compliment to heart. And then JR spoke. We accomplished a lot here, and getting clarity around our major goal is really going to help. And she was right. JR continued. Maybe we can just see how things go. Martin, Mikey, and Nick were cautiously nodding their heads in agreement.
Whatever sense of accomplishment that Kathryn had felt just a few minutes earlier had diminished significantly. Kathryn used the opportunity to prepare her team for what was to come. We have more money, better technology, and more talented and experienced executives than our competitors, and yet we are behind. What we lack is teamwork, and I can promise you all that I have no greater priority as CEO than making you, I mean, us, more effective as a group.
I will be encouraging conflict, driving for clear commitments, and expecting all of you to hold each other accountable. Even most of the staff members seemed to be sobered by the likely prospect of ongoing pain. They would have been shocked, however, to know that the colleague would not be Mikey.
The few glimmers of hope that did surface—like Carlos and Martin having a joint customer satisfaction meeting with their staffs—were enough to get employees whispering about what was going on. Based on the hallway demeanor she observed, Kathryn felt as though the team had completely forgotten about their two days in Napa.
There was little interaction, and almost no signs of willingness to engage with one another. The team seemed as though they were embarrassed by having exposed themselves and were pretending that it had never happened at all.
But Kathryn had been through this many times before. She had no idea that she was about to hit an artery. Nick had called a special meeting to discuss a possible acquisition. He invited anyone on the team who was interested to attend but made it clear that he needed Kathryn, Martin, JR, and Jeff to be there. Jan and Carlos also showed up.
Where do they get these names? In any case, I think we should consider acquiring them. Martin asked another question before Nick could answer the first one. And their technology is apparently good enough for those customers. Kathryn frowned. And are they all in Boston? But in the heat of real-world decision making, restraint was not her best quality. We would be increasing the size of the firm by 50 percent and adding a whole new set of products.
We have to be visionaries here. Kathryn pushed on Nick. And I. This has nothing to do with public relations or advertising. This is strategy. But she decided it could wait for a few minutes. I also believe that the issues we currently have around politics would only be exacerbated by an acquisition. Before he could say something he would regret, Jan jumped in. I think you should defer to Jeff and me when it comes to things like this. Kathryn was sure that someone would pounce on Nick for his mini-tirade.
She was wrong. Let me know if you need my input. That made it more difficult, but necessary nonetheless. The question was whether she should do it privately, or in front of the rest of the group.
Kathryn asked the rest of the group if they would leave Nick and her alone. As soon as they were gone, Kathryn spoke, but in a confident and relaxed way, far more in control than Nick had expected. She is part of this team, and you have to take your issues to her directly, or to me. But just for a moment. Then he regained his frustration and shot back at Kathryn. It could be strategic for us.
I moved my family halfway across this damn country with the expectation that I might someday be able to run this place, and now I am bored, helpless, and watching my peers screw this thing up.
Kathryn calmly addressed his comment. I was just venting and. Tell them what you just told me, about feeling underutilized and moving your family across. Nick continued. Kathryn finished his thought. Maybe you should quit?
You have to decide what is more important: Kathryn checked her watch and decided to get started. He chose the one away from the CEO. Given what had happened earlier in the day, Kathryn was not about to scold Nick for being late. The rest of the team seemed to understand her restraint. Instead, she launched into the meeting. But the way he had just interrupted Kathryn—and after arriving late to her first official staff meeting—seemed particularly audacious to the staff.
Inside, they were boiling with anticipation. I was out of line. I should have made sure that Mikey was there, and that comment I made about her was not fair. Nick addressed her. He continued. I need to find a way to contribute to this team, and this company. And I need you guys to help me.
Otherwise, I should leave. Being wrong notwithstanding, she was suddenly thrilled that he was staying. The room was silent, not knowing how to respond to the statement that was out of character for both Nick and the team.
Kathryn wanted to congratulate Nick for being so open but decided to let the moment speak for itself. When it became clear that the team had fully digested the magnitude of the situation and had nothing more to add, Kathryn went ahead and broke the silence. Until she completed her thought.
But only for a few long seconds. Kathryn waited. Mikey spoke first. Are we making things better, or worse? The momentum in the room seemed tangible now, and it was moving away from Kathryn. Then Martin finished. And that he preferred having a brand name behind him. He felt like we were pounding on him. And you headed a sales team earlier in your career.
He wanted to take on a more corporate, central leadership role. I felt like I was being pigeon-holed in sales and field ops. Jan slapped her forehead. Martin added a final bit of humor. I could feel a group hug coming on any minute. Especially if the call came from an executive.
Especially the CEO. Brendan arrived promptly and quickly identified the problem. When he informed Kathryn that he would need to take the computer with him to fix it, she agreed but explained that she would need it back before the end of the week.
You have another off-site coming up. In fact, she was glad that employees knew how her team was spending her time while they were out of the office. But his next comment gave her reason for concern.
Why is that? She wondered how many other employees in the company knew details about what was happening at the off-sites. Kathryn kicked off the event with her usual speech. What, if anything, did you tell your people about the first off-site session we had? I just think we need to get clear on our behaviors as a team.
Not a single thing. Mikey went next. No one laughed. Martin suddenly became defensive. Kathryn almost laughed. In fact, I should have been more explicit last time about our need to do so. Then Jan spoke. She resorted to bluntness. Mikey responded first. Jan spoke next. Jan smiled and nodded her head. My engineers know that I protect them from distractions and obstacles, and they work their butts off for me as a result.
My people are extremely loyal. I would think that you would want us to be good managers. You see, it leads to confusion about who their first team is. And all of this relates to the last dysfunction—putting team results ahead of individual issues. Your first team has to be this one.
Jan spoke first. She squinted, as if dreading having to hold the line.