The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Summary – Available in PDF

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team PDFA Leadership Fable

The best way to learn something is through a story. That’s why, upon realizing this, business writers started sharing their experiences through a new genre, the business fable.

And one of the most famous among them is, certainly, Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

Who Should Read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”? And Why?

You can’t have a winning football team if you build it around exceptional individuals. A team of average players with a teamwork mentality will beat your team nine times out of ten.

If you wonder why, then you should read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” It explains the prerequisites of great teamwork, and the way you can turn your company from a haphazard mixture of lone wolves into an interpersonal heaven breeding cohesiveness and creativity at the speed of light.

About Patrick Lencioni

Patrick LencioniPatrick Lencioni is an American author and motivational speaker. He is the President of The Table Group, a management counseling company. Lencioni has written ten books on different aspects of business management, mostly focusing on the importance of teamwork.

He is most famous as the author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and “The Advantage.”

Find out more at

“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team PDF Summary”

We’ve already introduced you to the “business fable” genre. We’ve read together some early examples such as “Who Moved My Cheese?” and “The One Minute Manager” as well as some recent ones such as “The Phoenix Project.”

Now it’s time for one of the most famous and enduring works in the genre: “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

In its bare essence, the fable concerns the fictional company DecisionTech, Inc. Its main characters include Kathryn Petersen, the newly appointed CEO, Jeff Shanley, her predecessor and cofounder, and a host of employees, such as: Jan, CFO; Nick, COO; Michelle, the Head of Marketing; Martin, the Chief Technologist; Jeff, the Head of Sales; and Carlos, the Head of Customer Support.

Through the stories of their day-to-day challenges and triumph, Lencioni manages to teach us few valuable lessons on what it means to be a functional team.

And he uses the best learning strategy: by reminding us the consequences of a dysfunctional working environment.

So, what are the five dysfunctions of a team?

Well, Kathryn Petersen, the CEO, explains these via a simple drawing, not unlike Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Namely, a five-sectioned pyramid which should look something like this.

And at the bottom of the triangle, you’ll find absence of trust.

Absence of trust is the foundation of all dysfunctions. And the root of it is the inability and unwillingness of employees to be vulnerable and open to each other. Teams which share personal insights and experiences always show better results!

Next, fear of conflict.

Conflict is nothing bad. In fact, if regulated, it’s usually more productive than you can imagine. Artificial harmony does nobody any good. So, dare to disagree.

Thirdly, lack of commitment.

Healthy conflict usually results in commitment. People don’t like compromises and especially not orders. Lack of conflict and discussion, in other words, means lack of commitment to the final decision.

Which leads us to dysfunction #4: avoidance of accountability.

Of course, you need to take full responsibility, i.e. be fully committed to something, to be accountable for it afterward.

And finally: inattention to results.

The worst thing that can happen to a team is to become a group of individuals. Take any sports team and you’ll understand how healthy teamwork leads to better results. If everyone works for him/herself, the results will never come.

Key Lessons from “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”

1.      Trust Each Other
2.      Master the Art of Disagreement
3.      Fully Commit to an Agreed Plan of Action
4.      Hold Yourself and Others Accountable for that Plan
5.      There’s No “I” in Team: Focus on the Collective Result

Trust Each Other

We’ll turn Lencioni’s strategy on its head for our “Key Lessons” section. Instead of telling you what a team should not be – we’ll tell you what it should be.

First of all, it should be a group of people who trust each other. They are in it together, and they need to have that in mind at all times. They must accept the risk of being vulnerable – in the name of the higher cause.

Master the Art of Disagreement

Teams built on trust know that disagreements are the only way to make some progress. Their members want to be part of the discussion – so that the decision they’ll finally reach would be the best one.

Fully Commit to an Agreed Plan of Action

Of course, if the opinion of every team member is heard and discussed through, commitment shouldn’t be a problem.

Hold Yourself and Others Accountable for that Plan

And commitment brings responsibility with itself. Not only is every member of a functional team responsible for his/her own action, but he/she also holds everybody else accountable for his/her.

There’s No “I” in Team: Focus on the Collective Result

Finally, cohesive team means a many-minded organism which functions as if a single mind. Everybody works for the team. Even if that means self-sacrificing from time to time.

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“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” Quotes

Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they're doing it because they care about the team. Click To Tweet Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability. Click To Tweet Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal. Click To Tweet Not finance. Not strategy. And not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare. Click To Tweet If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

There’s a reason why Patrick Lencioni is often introduced as a management and leadership guru and dubbed one of the few people in his area you should know.

Just as there is a reason why “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is considered one of the most influential business fables ever written and why it has been on the bestseller lists of every magazine that means something (“New York Times,” “Wall Street Journal,” “Business Week,” “USA Today,” etc.)

Simply put, we learn best through stories, and Lencioni has here told us the perfect one. It’s simple – yet it feels real. It’s easy-to-follow, and yet it communicates important things.

And finally, it teaches everything it wants to teach – and it does this in such a smooth manner that you are not even going to notice how much more you know about teamwork after closing the book.

But, trust us, you’ll most definitely do.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Advantage Summary – Available in PDF

The Advantage SummaryWhy Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business

“The Advantage” takes an in-depth look at the reasons for the problems organizations face, and paves the path to a healthy corporate culture with useful and workable advice.

About Patrick Lencioni

Patrick LencioniPatrick Lencioni is a bestselling author and president of The Table Group consultancy.

“The Advantage Summary”

Most managers and company executives are stuck in their comfort zones, and constantly work on “strategy, marketing, finance, and technology.”

However, they forget one important thing: all of these areas are of no importance when an organization is unhealthy.

The problem with organizational health that leaders have is that its benefits are very hard to quantify, so it is much easier for them to focus on measurable results.

Not to mention that to “cure” your company you will need to go through a lot of uncomfortable interactions and no one wants to deal with emotions.

However, no matter how solid the company’s strategy is, it cannot make up for unhealthy corporate culture.

The difference between healthy and unhealthy companies is that the latter find it hard to respond to opportunities and recover from mistakes and issues. Healthy companies, on the other hand, grow and improve and capitalize on the expertise of their staff.

So, what are the disciplines that healthy firms practice?

Discipline 1: “Build a Cohesive Leadership Team”

By definition, a leadership team is a ”small group of people who are collectively responsible for achieving a common objective for their organization.”

The word “team” is used all the time, so maybe you feel that it has little meaning, but you cannot underestimate the importance of teamwork. Teams are stronger than their members individually are – since they combine all their solo abilities in a cohesive circle.

Discipline 2: “Create Clarity”

Confusion and misdirection can be prevented, if employees know not only where the company is headed but also what they have to do to take it there.

Discipline 3: “Overcommunicate Clarity”

Clarification of the organizational goals and values is not enough.

People fully understand information when they hear it more times, from different sources. So, communicate the messages you wish your employees to comprehend repeatedly.

Discipline 4: “Reinforce Clarity”

Practice what you preach and incorporate the organization’s values and objectives into every aspect of your company’s operations and processes.

The easiest way to start reinforcing them is using them with hiring and orientation and expanding from there.

Key Lessons from “The Advantage PDF”

1.      Behavioral Principles which are Fundamental to Effective Teamwork
2.      Six Questions Leaders Need to Answer to Spur Cooperative Action
3.      Four Types of Meeting Vital for Maintaining Progress in the Right Direction

Behavioral Principles which are Fundamental to Effective Teamwork

  • “Building trust.”
  • “Mastering conflict.”
  • “Achieving commitment.”
  • “Embracing accountability.”
  • “Focusing on results.”

Six Questions Leaders Need to Answer to Spur Cooperative Action

  • “Why do we exist?”
  • “How do we behave?”
  • “What do we do?”
  • “How will we succeed?”
  • “What is most important, right now?”
  • “Who must do what?”

Four Types of Meeting Vital for Maintaining Progress in the Right Direction

  • “Daily check-in.”
  • “Weekly staff meetings.”
  • “Ad hoc topic meetings.”
  • “Quarterly reviews.”

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“The Advantage Quotes”

If people don’t weigh in, they can’t buy in. Click To Tweet The fear of conflict is almost always a sign of problems. Click To Tweet When there is trust, conflict becomes nothing but the pursuit of truth, an attempt to find the best possible answer. Click To Tweet Executives must put the needs of the higher team ahead of the needs of their departments. Click To Tweet No one on a cohesive team can say, Well, I did my job. Our failure isn’t my fault. Click To Tweet    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF: