Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Reflections: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

I've been hesitant to read business-oriented books in the past.  I've laid out my reasons why in a separate blog post.  When I was invited to participate in a book club at work and read and discuss the business book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team I was thrilled to participate, but my excitement was more in being able to interact with other leaders and not as much regarding the book itself.  Happily, I found some value in the book and would be willing to recommend it to the others.

The first red flag that went up when I was introduced to the book was the subtitle: "A Leadership Fable."  I immediately thought of Who Moved My Cheese? and the fable it is intended to be.  That book, in my opinion, is so juvenile it's barely worth reading.  (In fact, I don't really think it is worth reading).  I was worried The Five Dysfunctions would also take the simplistic to the point of offense route.  Although The Five Dysfunctions is simply written (don't expect Dickens here), I would not consider it a simple book.  I fully admit that the book club interaction I had at work helped tremendously in assisting me to glean meaning and lessons from the book.  Yet, I do believe there are lessons to be learned here even in the absence of having a team or club to interact with while reading the book.  The fiction in this case, as opposed to something like Who Moved My Cheese?, was surprisingly effective.  It was applicable without being infantile.

Inevitably, The Five Dysfunctions posits its own "secret sauce" of teamwork along with the supreme obstacles to achieving it (hence the five dysfunctions).  Reading this book wasn't exactly a revelatory experience, but it does provide some additional insights I had not considered to the fullest extent.  If any one author truly has found the "secret sauce" of business, teamwork, or whatever else, there would probably be far less business books to peruse and digest.  I believe in the power of ideas, however, and The Five Dysfunctions give some tasty food for thought.

In the end, I was pleasantly (albeit mildly) surprised by The Five Dysfunctions.  I didn't find it pretentious, as I do many business books.  (Thankfully the author didn't recommend I had to read his book multiple times in a year in order to truly appreciate it!).  Teamwork, effective and efficient teamwork, is desperately sought after in almost all businesses, whether its a call center or an emergency room staff.  There is some good information to be found here, and it's worth a read.

Other Topics of Interest:
Reflections: Who Moved My Cheese?
Reflections: Steve Jobs
Reflections: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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