Friday, October 9, 2009

Trust is a correlate not precondition for an effective team

Lencioni's book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, does an outstanding job of identifying the components needed for an effective team: ability to engage in and resolve conflict, commitment to team decisions, accountability to team members, attention to results, and trust of one another.

However, I disagree when he says that TRUST is the foundation for a successful team and leads to the other results. Instead, I suggest that TRUST is the outcome of the other behaviors that enables the team to excel. Successful experience with conflict, commitment, accountability, and attention to results LEADS TO trust. Only that history will enable trust to grow. In the absence of trust, initial "faith" may be the right word for what is needed. Members must have faith that others will engage in positive practices. If that faith is rewarded with the right behaviors, trust develops. If people see their faith in others violated, trust will not develop and the other components of a good team will not develop. I think that concentrating on the other behaviors will lead to trust, and not vice-versa. When a team lacks trust, the focus should be on one of the other key components and not on trust per se. Trust is the goal, because it implies the presence of all the other pieces. When a team has trust, it is probably an effective team. They go hand-in-hand. Lack of trust is a symptom and the real cause needs to be addressed.