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Working with several GMs I have discovered some of the key issues I face is that of building a high performing management team. This process is not always straight forward and depends largely on the transparency of the individuals and the environment that the CEO or GM has created in allowing for candour in all communications. This openness has to work both ways.

Patrick Lencioni, published a book a while back, titled, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” Patrick identifies some key steps in identifying if you have a problem in your management team

From his book:

  1. Absence of trust. In the context of building a team, trust is the confidence among team members that their peers’ intentions are good, and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group. In essence, teammates are not comfortable being vulnerable with one another.
  2. Fear of conflict. All great relationships, the ones that last over time, require productive conflict in order to grow. This is true in marriage, parenthood, friendship, and certainly business. Unfortunately, conflict is considered taboo, stressful, and inefficient in many situations, especially at work, so it doesn’t happen when it should.
  3. Lack of commitment. Team commitment is a function of two things: clarity and buy-in. The two greatest causes of lack of commitment are the desire for consensus and the need for certainty. Neither is usually possible. With an executive team, lack of commitment causes irresolvable discord to ripple down through the organization.
  4. Avoidance of accountability. Team accountability refers specifically to the willingness of team members to call their peers on performance or behaviors that might hurt the team. They may not want to risk a friendship, but this ironically causes relationships to deteriorate as team members resent one another for not living up to expectations.
  5. Inattention to results. The ultimate dysfunction of a team is the tendency of members to care about individual status or sub-team status more than the collective goals of the group. An unrelenting focus on specific objectives and clearly defined outcomes is a requirement for any team that judges itself on performance.

These might seem like no brainer but this culture of inclusiveness and candour is hard to fabricate. It needs to be based on authenticity to have any real merit. It comes back to how comfortable each individual is in receiving and giving feedback for the benefit of the whole.

Keith Ferrazzi gives some great tools to help you build these sorts of relationships and his book Who’s got your back is an excellent starting point.

Jack Welch also mentions the importance of candour in building great teams. If you can’t do this internally initially then perhaps bring in a consultant to facilitate this progress. A great deal of growth both personally and business wise is sure to occur.

Diagram Catayst consulting

Here are my slides on creating a great team.

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