Teams are at the heart of most work in the complex, volatile and disrupted world in which we live and work. Whilst ‘two heads are better than one’ may be age old wisdom, collective output, interdependency and collaboration are often fraught with challenges and obstacles.
Fewer than a third of teams are described as high performing. As shocking as this is, it probably rings true when we reflect on our daily experiences of teams with which we interact.
Yet the cost of this is high.
Using Lencioni’s popular ‘Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ as a lens, a poorly performing team is likely to have low levels of trust, a fear of and inability to manage conflict, a lack of ownership and accountability and achieve poor results. This toxic combination leads to a wide variety of outcomes, all of which have a high cost to the wider organisation. These include:
Silos and solo work – working with an individualised approach, poor handoffs and guarding own territory
Poor productivity and inefficiency – misunderstanding, miscommunication, slow and poor task outputs requiring work to be redone.
Errors and problems hidden from view – fear of speaking up, having a dissenting view, raising challenges and issues and so an inability to tackle and solve critical business issues
Failure to take risks and innovate – poor performing teams who are struggling with achieving their existing mandates are unable to move onto the more complex ways of working together required for innovation
Contagion across the organisation – as modern organisations are an intricate web of teams and interdependencies, one poor performance team has the potential to create a large and negative impact across other teams.
The impact of this is costly, leading to poor execution and delivery, resulting in:
Poor customer experience
Damage to the organisation’s brand and reputation
Loss of customers
Failure to win new customers and a resulting
Loss in revenue and
Poor financial performance
The cost of low performing teams is very high. Too high for no action to be taken. Can you and your organisation afford not to build better teams?