Does Your Team Pass the High-Performance Test?

Not many teams are great at both results and relationships.

Patrick Lencioni, in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, lays out a simple but powerful framework for high-performance teaming that blends results and relationships.


How does your team measure up?

1. Does your team focus on and achieve collective results?


This is at the top of Lencioni’s pyramid for a reason. Too often, team members are more focused on their own agendas (e.g., ego, career development, recognition) than the collective goals of the team. Like a crew team rowing out of cadence, a team that is not in sync wastes time and energy.

2. How’s the trust among your team?

Trust is foundational to making relationships work and for helping people loosen their grip on their own agendas so they can grab hold of the team’s agenda. As Charles H. Green writes, trust is built when team members demonstrate credibility, reliability, intimacy and other-orientation. Trust takes a hit when team members do things like… withhold important information, avoid difficult but needed conversations, treat each other disrespectfully, talk behind each others’ backs or never admit weaknesses and mistakes.

3. Does your team openly debate ideas and solutions?

When people trust each other’s commitments and intentions, they are more likely to openly share their ideas, questions and viewpoints – instead of being overly concerned about how they might be perceived. And this leads to better collaboration, innovation and decisions.

4. Are your team members committed to the team’s decisions?

When people feel their opinion is heard and valued, they are much more willing to defer to a decision that is not theirs for the sake of the ‘greater good.’ If people haven’t voiced their opinions in open debate and haven’t felt heard and appreciated, they will not buy in and commit to team decisions. They may not express disagreement verbally during the meeting, but once they leave, they will question the decision and not be supportive.

5. Do your team members hold themselves and each other accountable?

If there is not a clear plan of action and commitment to decisions coming out of a team meeting, individuals will likely not follow through on commitments. And they are also unlikely to call others to task when others don’t follow through or when they act in a way that is counterproductive to the team’s well-being and its goals.

So, how does your team measure up? These five areas are simple to understand but difficult to put into practice. Your next step to becoming a high-performing team may be admitting you’re not there yet. That will likely build some trust and foster some needed open debate and discussion…

Image credits: Rowers and Lencioni’s Pyramid

Joe Baker is a Partner with PeopleResults. He helps leaders and their teams achieve effective results and relationships. You can reach him at or on Twitter @JoeBakerJr