Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Guiding principles and teamwork

agree In my “day job” our team is working to up-level our effectiveness.  One of the aspects of this is re-forging our agreements with each other and clarifying expectations for how we engage.  We have a set of guiding principles that I thought I’d share here, since I think they are very empowering.

  • The team trusts one another
  • The team engages in unfiltered conflict around ideas
  • The team commits to decision and plans
  • The team holds one another accountable for delivery on plans
  • The team focuses on achievement of collective results

If you’ve ever read Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” these should look familiar – they are modeled after the advice in that book.  As a team (the whole company is being exposed to this as part of our process), we’re all reading this (excellent) book and using it to help us through the process.

We are nowhere as messed up as the team in Lencioni’s fable, but we are also not perfect in our practice of these principles.  What I find empowering about this list is that it establishes a benchmark for us and a way to do some gap analysis by asking questions like:

  • In the situation we just completed (project, discussion, etc.) how did we do as a team in honoring these principles?
  • How well did I do individually?
  • In the next [week, month, quarter, year] what can I do to meaningfully improve my contribution to these principles.

Obviously, there a bunch of things that work alongside these, such as how we learn from our inevitable missteps, how we bring new people into our teams in a way that prepares them for success, how (and how often) we evaluate ourselves against these.  But the nice thing is we now have a structure in which to analyze how we’re working together.

What about you – does your organization have such principles?  Are they implicit or explicit?  Are they working or not? 

What can you share about how to improve an organization’s ability to work together?