Dead but Won’t Admit It

tomb stones

Dead teams are dead and buried long before they admit it. They yearn for life. But, in the end, they just suck air until someone puts them out of their misery.

Raise your hand if you’ve been part of a team that was dead but wouldn’t admit it. Dead teams waste resources, lower morale, and propagate helplessness.

Teams die because they:

  1. Don’t act. Talk without action always kills teams
  2. Lie. Members go along to get along. They don’t tell each other the truth.
  3. Pretend. Every time you pretend you’re succeeding – when you aren’t – is another nail in the coffin.
  4. Forget. Compelling purpose was the reason you came together. Today, it’s just going through the motions.
  5. Outlive. Teams die when they outlive their purpose.
  6. Ignore. Elephants – taboo topics – live in every dead teams closet.


Teams are more about the people in the chairs than the project on the table.

Projects aren’t vibrant, people are.

Teams die when they focus
too much on what and too little on who.

Start your next meeting with one of these questions:

  1. What’s most fulfilling about being on this team?
  2. What could we do today/this week that would enhance our teamwork?
  3. What’s not working? If you’re afraid to ask this question in public, go to the members in private. The need for anonymity suggests your team is dead or dying.
  4. With our work in mind, what’s important to you?
  5. What’s a win for you personally? For the team?
  6. What are we doing and why are we doing it?
  7. What makes you feel supported by the team?
  8. How can you support your teammates?

The way teams work together
is more important than the work itself.

Bonus: Facebook fans respond to, “I know a team when I see one because _______.”

How can leaders bring vibrancy to teams?

What’s your response to the last sentence of this post?

keynotes and workshops