Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Inattention to Results

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Written By cnu

This is the last dysfunction that is discussed in the book “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. Do read the first 4 dysfunctions I have been writing this past week – Absence of Trust, Fear of Conflict, Lack of Commitment, and Avoidance of Accountability.

All these 4 dysfunctions eventually lead to the final dysfunction, the inattention to results. When a team is doesn’t trust themselves and are afraid to have an argument, it leads to non-committal decisions being taken leading to no accountability at all and each team member works towards his own personal results instead of the team’s results.

Any team should set the goals and objectives they want to achieve. But if there is no accountability, the members would start working towards their personal goals or their own team’s goals.

Team level goals

Say the overall company’s goals are to have 100 paying customers by end of year, each team needs to commit to it. If let’s say the sales team thinks it is a huge target, they would start working on accounts which are smaller, but easier to close.

Getting 100 clients who are ready to pay a few tens of thousands is different from getting 100 clients who pay hundred thousands of dollars. The first might be easy, but it doesn’t add any significant increase to the top line.

Personal Goals

If the intra-team goals aren’t achievable, then individual members would start working towards their personal goal. With the sales team example, each sales person would start getting clients who yield the highest commissions. This kind of behaviour is detrimental to the growth of the team and the company.

How to overcome this dysfunction

The simplest way to overcome this dysfunction is to publicly declare the results that they need to be achieve. Public proclamations in a team setting tend to allow the team to work passionately towards the goal.

Another way is to announce results based rewards. Link the compensation of the team member based on the results he achieved. But make sure that the goals are clearly mentioned and tracked. Have an objective way to track the goals and the results achieved.


Whatever I have written in these 5 posts are just a very brief gist of the book. Be sure to read the book and really understand with the story and examples of how to save your team from these dysfunctions.

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