Your “team one”

It made sense when Patrick Lencioni said it, and it made sense when I read it in The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team 20 years ago, but it still is not common business practice. Your executive leadership team – the CEO and your peers,  must be your “team one”, not your division or your direct reports. Whew!

Why is that so hard?  Silos, fiefdoms, politics – they are more common than not in organizations. I suppose many of us grew up that way. We fought for limited resources and were rewarded for individual performance. No surprise that our organizations have been set up that way as well.

We know now that the secret sauce of many successful organizations is the ability to be open and vulnerable. Where people can have productive conflict around ideas, where the goals are clear and the commitment is genuine. Add accountability and attention to results and no competitor can outperform this organization.

If you are the leader, what do you need to do to orient your executive team to be team one? What is the compelling vision that everyone can rally around? How does each member of the team support the others to get there? What are your expectations about behavior? Do you reward group achievement or individual success? Are you unwittingly pitting one division against another?

Start here. Do you have one person on the executive team that everyone else “dances” around? They are the exception, the “rules” don’t apply to them. Like most of us, they do something extremely well and other stuff, well, not so well. They cause damage that other people have to fix within the organization. What are you tolerating and what is it costing you not to address the problem?

Lencioni’s new book The Motive may help you think about leadership and your “team one”. It will help you understand the value of team one and how to create it. Check it out. It’s a super quick read.


Photo of ducks along the LA River