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Part One in a series

Do you work or lead a team of 3-12 people? Is your team showing any of these symptoms of dysfunction?

  • Absence of trust—unwilling to be vulnerable within the group
  • Fear of conflict—seeking artificial harmony over constructive passionate debate
  • Lack of commitment—feigning buy-in for group decisions creates ambiguity throughout the organization
  • Avoidance of accountability—ducking the responsibility to call peers on counterproductive behavior which sets low standards
  • Inattention to results—focusing on personal success, status and ego before team success

A new team building program called “The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team,” provides both individual and team feedback, and is grounded in the model described in “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” the internationally best-selling leadership fable by Patrick Lencioni. With this program, participants learn how, as a team, they score on the key components of the model: trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and results.Five Behaviors AP logo

This blog post addresses the first behavior of the teamwork model – trust.

In a Steve Jobs interview, he spoke of the number of committees at Apple. How many committees do they have you may wonder? Jobs claims there are none. Zero. Jobs said that one of the secrets of Apple’s success is that people who are in charge of projects (one person has international marketing for example) meet every week for three hours. In what sounds like the “anti-silo” method of management, these team leaders are in charge of getting things done, and leading their teams.

“”Teamwork is about trusting the other folks to come through with their part, without watching them all the time. And that’s what we do really well. And we’re great at figuring out how to divide things up with these great teams that we have.” Steve Jobs

According to Jobs, trust is empowering.

JAMA’s Software CEO Eric Winquist was asked to describe what makes a highly effective IT project team. Winquist feels that, “today’s IT market demands products that aren’t just functional, but universally accessible, beautifully designed and intuitive and user-friendly.”  Winquist sees project teams as having either a victim or victor attitude. Those who have a victor attitude see projects as an opportunity to innovate and provide a new level of business value for their organization. Those with a victim attitude emphasize cost-cutting, micromanagement, excessive control of information and reporting and a “command and control” philosophy.

Winquist says that the victors in IT project management are committed to three main things:

  • Bringing people in: They keep everyone connected along the journey of a product by providing more context around the entire process so each player has the same common vision and goal.
  • Empowering teams: This is the trust portion. They understand people make better decisions when they understand the ‘Big Picture’ and when they’re empowered. These people also want to give more discretionary effort.
  • Focusing on outcomes: They measure product launches through their ability to meet customer need and drive adoption (not just meeting deadlines). It’s about creating a positive outcome and experience that moves the needle.

Whether you are a team leader or a team player, trust is a critical element for a highly effective and cohesive team. Stay tuned for future team building insights from ECCO International.

Source: CIO, “How to Create High-Performing Project Management Teams,” Sharon Florentine, June 2, 2014