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Why Teams Fail

The things you don’t do are more damaging – in the long-term – than the things you do.

Ignorance prevails when you don’t-do. You only learn when you do-and-fail.

Teams that punish failure end up stupid.

Why teams fail:

#1. Failure to give authority.

Teams that lack authority are impotent advisers.

Any team that needs permission from higher ups to complete its mission is doomed to irrelevance.

#2. Failure to deal constructively with frustration, disappointment, and conflict.

Relationships always deteriorate until we learn how to navigate and resolve dark emotions.

Destructive strategies include clamming-up, blowing up, or withdrawing.

Teamwork always degenerates when unresolved issues percolate.

#3. Failure to engage everyone in the conversation.

Dysfunctional teams have dominant members who talk most of the time.

Teams waste time, energy, and talent when the brains around the table are disengaged. Doing what you’re told might be quick, but it’s soul-sucking over time.

#4. Ignorance of the strengths of fellow team members.

I was recently told about a team that displays a chart of each team member’s strengths in the conference room.

You must know each other’s strengths in order to effectively align and adapt roles.

Competence and strengths are different. A strength is something that makes you feel strong when you do use it. (Buckingham) Competence is simply something you do well.

We can depend on each other – only when we’re all using our strengths – in service to team objectives. You’re not dependable when you function in weakness.

Successful teams know how and when to depend on each other.

One way to improve teams:

Work on the way you work.

Teamwork takes more discipline and skill than working on your own.

In your experience, why do teams fail?

What have you done to improve team work on your team?

Why Teams Fail: 10 Causes and Cures (Blanchard)

5 Dysfunctions of a Team (Summary)

(Image adapted with permission of: r. nial bradshaw)

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