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Book Review – Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Book Review – Five Dysfunctions of a Team

This is a book I read a few years ago, recommended by some co-workers. The author, Patrick Lencioni, is a writer of books on business management and is famous for this book, The Five Dysfunctions of a team. He is also the founder and president of the Table Group, a management consulting firm focused on organizational health.

This book is an easy read, and since it is a fable (fiction) story, you can really place yourself in the scenario and learn from the personalities described. You learn things that you can apply to the groups you have joined during your professional and personal career. Each of these layers has its own issues to work through, but the payoff is a team that is all rowing in the same direction.

Awesome video with an overview of the book – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The author, Pat Lencioni, doing a 30 minute talk with more real world examples affiliated with his book, the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The above pyramid, the model described in the book, explains how one dysfunction leads to another and in the end, results in a negative morale of the team.
#1 Absence of Trust
Bottom of the pyramid is the absence of trust, when team members are unable to show their weakness, resulting in being reluctant to be vulnerable and being open with one another. The result is that Team members will be afraid of admitting their mistakes and won’t ask for help.
#2 Fear of Conflict
Resulting from a lack of trust is a fear of conflict, which in turn results in team members incapable of engaging in debates or openly voicing their opinions. A team that avoids conflicts produce inferior results.
#3 Lack of Commitment
Fear of conflict results in lack of commitment. When team members aren’t bought into the decisions, they aren’t committed, which results in an environment where ambiguity wins the day.
#4 Avoidance of Accountability
Lack of commitment results in team members not holding each other accountable.
#5 Inattention to Results
If the team members aren’t accountable, they put their own needs [ego, recognition, career development etc.] ahead of the team goals. This total loss of focus causes the company / division / team to suffer.

Addressing Dysfunctions
As the first step for addressing these dysfunctions, every team needs to understand that these dysfunctions exist. The leadership in the company needs to lead by example and set the tone for the whole team to overcome these dysfunctions. This means the leadership being the first one to be vulnerable, encouraging debate and conflict, making responsibilities and deadlines clear, setting the team’s standards, and being clear on the team’s outcome. It is important to understand that reaching consensus is not the goal, but making sure that everyone is being heard.

Ask these simple questions to understand the level of dysfunction you are facing:

  1. Do team members openly and readily disclose their opinions?
  2. Are team meetings compelling and productive?
  3. Does the team come to decisions quickly and avoid getting bogged down by consensus?
  4. Do team members confront one another about their shortcomings?
  5. Do team members sacrifice their own interests for the good of the team?

No team is perfect, but constantly work to ensure that the answers to the above questions are “yes”.

In that type of environment you can create a culture that will produce the results you desire!.

Book Review – Extreme Ownership

Book Review – Extreme Ownership

This is a good 12 minute review of 10 Key Take Aways from the Book

Jocko’s intense TED Talk about the concepts of Extreme Ownersip

A cool illustrative video of the Top Lessons in Extreme Ownership

It seems as if Extreme Ownership has been intended for me since the Fall of 2019!  We were given the book, which my son Nicholas already had and started reading over the summer, to read over Christmas Holidays.  We then discussed some of it at a 2020 Kick-Off meeting in early January.  At our national Managers Meeting in March, I was delighted to learn that Leif Babin, one of the co-authors, was actually going to speak live to us!  I just happened to be in the area at the right time and got a cool pic with him!  One of my co-workers and I also got one after he spoke to us live!

Now that we are in the midst of COVID-19 and staying home, Zoom meetings are all the rage…so our company set it up where we had 3 folk from Echelon Front speak to us on Zoom.  Jocko was on and spoke to us…and boy is that an intense man! 

Anyway, about the book…I would watch the three YouTube linked videos at the top, as it give you some insight about the book.  I would also HIGHLY RECOMMEND listening to the Audiobook on Audible, as having Jocko and Leif read it in THEIR VOICE is so much more powerful than me hearing it in my head voice!  

I won’t reiterate the key points, because you can find those in millions of places, as well as in the videos above.  What I will say is that I really found value in how the chapters were set up.  Each chapter had a Lesson which was illustrated by a story from their time in combat.  That was followed by a Principle that we should take away, and finally each chapter was concluded by an Application to Business.  They drove it home to how that Lesson could and should apply to ME in MY Business world.  That was important for me.

Obviously, I’m a fan of this book and took away some key concepts.  The key ones I found myself aligning to were:

  • Cover and Move
  • Check your Ego at the Door
  • Keep it Simple
  • Plan

Get the book and read it (or listen to it preferably)…you won’t regret it!

You Own Your Future…

You Own Your Future…

As someone who is in the “hiring” game, I’m often contacted by people who want to “get in the pharma industry.”  I advise people, especially those who have no pharma experience, to get with someone who is in the industry and pick their brains.  The first step, I tell them, is to discover whether or not they will even like the position, and talking to someone in the industry is a great first step.  When talking to someone with NO sales experience, I tell them to get experience selling SOMETHING!  You need to get around people doing what you want to do to so you’ll know if it’s a good fit for you. 

In driving around for my job, I began listening to Ken Coleman’s show on XM Radio.  I’ve heard Ken talking about the Proximity Principle, which is his new book calling out steps to find your dream job.  The concept is perfectly aligned with my thoughts:  “To do what I want to do I have to be around the people that are doing it and the places it is happening.”  His advice is on target, so you should really take a moment to listen to it’s concepts!!

Excerpt Taken from Book Site:

Calling all job hunters, career changers and college grads! Feel like the career you want is just too far out of reach? You’ve got the tools—you just need the manual that will get you closer.

You’re not alone. 70% of Americans are unhappy with their jobs. You want more than a nine-to-five J-O-B. You want to know why it’s so hard to find work you actually enjoy. Author and career expert Ken Coleman hears these same questions from callers on The Ken Coleman Show:

  • Is it too late to start over?
  • Even if it’s not too late, what if I try and fail?
  • What will my family and friends think if I try something new?
  • Is my dream career even possible for me?

The mind-set and skill set Ken acquired early in his career—and shares daily with his radio listeners—is now a proven strategy that can work for you too. Ken Coleman will guide you toward the people and places you need to be closer to in order to succeed in getting a job you love.

The Proximity Principle demystifies the questions about who you need to know and where you need to be in order to find new opportunities.

When it comes to People, you’ll learn:

  • How to build relationships with qualified experts (and where to find them)
  • How to connect with professionals and learn from them as a resource
  • How to pursue a constructive and meaningful mentorship
  • What types of peers you need to surround yourself with (and who to avoid)
  • How to find companies and organizations that will help you continue to grow

When it comes to Places, you’ll discover:

  • The exact distance between where you are right now and where your dream job is
  • Where to go in order to get the skill set and education you need to succeed
  • The best location for you to soak up as much experience as possible
  • The places where you can start applying the skills you’ve learned
  • Most importantly, the exact place where you can grow and do work that matters

Break free from boring and land your dream job with The Proximity Principle.

Attack Your Day!! Before it Attacks You

Attack Your Day!! Before it Attacks You

November 2012 Book Review – Attack Your Day!: Before It Attacks You

I purchased this book for my Kindle App for the iPad on a whim while we were on our fall vacation in Hendersonville in early November.  I had never heard about it, and I feel like when it comes to my work life, I am pretty organized.  I will say, however, that this book has tips and concepts in it that I will be incorporating into my daily work routine.  I also like the basic concept of managing your days…

The new time management isn’t TIME management at all; it’s ACTIVITY management, and balance.

This Kindle ebook (or paperback) is all about managing our lives so as best to capitalize on three precious gifts – time, energy and choice. In an interesting and inspirational manner it helps us to examine everything that we are doing (or not doing) and to isolate those areas which are making our lives less than fruitful.  While all can benefit, book provides real tips that the ordinary person like myself can incorporate in how we are navigating our way through life and organize ourselves better. Even if you are wholly satisfied with how you are handling things and just want to read it out of curiosity, you are bound to find a useful tip here and there to try out.

I am still working through the 101 tips in the back of the book…those tips are worth the price of the book itself, which is extremely affordable.

The link below takes you to Amazon where you can find deals on this book!  Enjoy…Attack Your Day!: Before It Attacks You

Six Simple Rules for Life (John Maxwell)

Six Simple Rules for Life (John Maxwell)

I read this from John Maxwell’s site, and thought it was simple, short, and straigh forward.  As such, I thought I woud share it with you.  If you haven’t visited his site, here is a good place to start

Six Simple Rules for Life

A five-year old slugger smacks the baseball out into the field and sprints toward third base. A tiny midfielder, playing her first soccer match, reaches down and scoops into her arms the ball rolling through the green grass toward her. A small child on the basketball court receives a pass from a teammate and excitedly races to the hoop…without remembering to dribble.

If you’ve ever coached a children’s sports team, then you know the importance of explaining the simple rules of the game. Initially, chaos and confusion reign supreme as children accustomed themselves to unfamiliar regulations. Yet over time, the once-confusing rules become second nature, and the kids play together without even having to think about them.


Playing a sport without knowing the rules leads to chaos, confusion, and even can result in injury. Likewise, going through life without a reliable set of rules gives rise to disorder, dissatisfaction, and even harm. In this lesson, I’d like to share six simple rules that have helped me to navigate life. I hope they provide you with food for thought as you consider, or reevaluate, the rules you live by.

RULE #1: Put family first.

Lots of leaders give lip service to putting family first, but they don’t actually practice giving their spouse or kids top priority. What does it mean to put family first? For me, it involves redefining success. I do not measure my success in terms of career accomplishments. For me, success is when those closest to me love and respect me the most. Practically speaking, I make sure to schedule time with loved ones before setting my work calendar. It’s far more important for me to give prime time to my family than to “get ahead” by working overtime.

RULE #2: Follow the Golden Rule.

As followers, we universally ask three questions about our leaders: 1) Do they care for me? 2) Can they help me? 3) Can I trust them?

As a leader, regularly pose those same questions to yourself—Am I caring? Am I helping? Am I reliable?—as a reminder to treat others the way you would like to treated.

RULE #3 Take care of yourself.

Doing something for yourself is not a selfish act; it’s a sustaining act. In a university commencement address several years ago, Brian Dyson, CEO of Coca Cola Enterprises, spoke of the relation of work to one’s other responsibilities: Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them—work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls—family, health, friends and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life. I’ve learned the importance of this rule the hard way—through the trauma of a heart attack. If you’re not carving out time to rest and replenish, to exercise, and to monitor your spiritual wellbeing, then eventually you’ll breakdown. When that happens you’re no good to anyone.

RULE #4 Choose a positive attitude.

Happiness cannot be won, bought, or brought to you by another person. Rather, it results from a conscious choice to be grateful for our blessings and to make the best of life’s letdowns. Whatever happens to us, we always have control of one thing: our attitude.

RULE #5 Have a personal growth plan.

The key to personal growth is to have a beginner’s mindset. Beginners admit they don’t know everything and proceed accordingly. As a general rule, they’re open and humble, noticeably lacking in the rigidity that often accompanies experience and achievement.

RULE #6 Give more than you receive.

Everyone must ask for help at some point along the journey of life, but each person also has an inborn need to serve others. When I stopped trying to extract value from the people around me, and instead began searching for ways to add value, my influence soared.