Book Review: Patrick Lencioni’s “Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

The 4-MAT REVIEW system is a way of responding to readings, lectures, and life experiences that requires the learner to interact with new ideas on several levels.

Please use the following format in preparing 4-MAT BOOK REVIEWS:

  1. Summary Summarize what you have read, boiling the book down into 500 “tight” words (2 pages). Prove you comprehend the readings by writing a no-nonsense summary. The abstract is not a commentary or listing of topics, but rather an objective summary from the reader’s viewpoint. Abstract equals boiled down. This section should include a minimum of two citations to the text being reviewed.
  1.  Concrete response. Get vulnerable! In no less than 250 words and no more than 1 page, relate a personal life episode that this book triggered in your memory. Relate your story in first person, describing action, quoting exact words you remember hearing or saying. In the teaching style of Jesus, this is a do-it-yourself parable, case study, confession. You will remember almost nothing you have read unless you make this critical, personal connection. What video memory began to roll? This is your chance to tell your story and make new ideas your own.
  1. Reflection. This is the critical thinking part of the review (not critical in the sense of negative, but in the sense of questioning). In no less than 250 words and no more than 1 page, describe what questions pop up for you in response to what you have read. Keep a rough note sheet at hand as you read. Out smart the author by asking better questions than he/she has raised in the book. Tell me how the author could have made the book better or more appealing to those in your field of service.  One way to begin this section is by stating what bothered you most about the book. This is not a place to provide an endorsement or affirmation of the book.
  1. Action. So what are you going to do about it? In no less than 1 page and no more than 2 pages provide three (3) actions steps that describe what actions or changes you are going to make in your life, ministry and/or work as a result of your reading. Action steps should be measurable and thus reveal a commitment to specific time, specific people, and identified steps. Make sure the action steps are implemented between the time the review is submitted and Week 7. Discussion Board activity asks for you to reveal the results of one of your actions.
  1. Please provide an APA-style title page, pagination, citations & reference page.


            Patrick Lencioni provides a guide that managers, facilitators, and leaders can use to address a team’s dysfunctions. The author combines a mix of storytelling, simple language, and intellectual knowledge in management to explain the struggles that teams face and how to solve them. Lencioni begins by explaining the concept of teamwork and discusses that it requires persistence and courage. He explains that many avoid the subject of collaboration because measuring and achieving it is hard.  Lencioni says “Teamwork can’t be taught, but requires levels of discipline, courage, and emotional energy” (Lencioni, 2005, p. 4). In this perspective, the building of an effective and cohesive team is not difficult, but requires keeping things simple, being patient, and persistent.

            Lencioni then goes on to reveal the dysfunctions that make many teams struggle and offers a model and steps that are actionable that can help in overcoming the hurdles.  The first issue is the absence of trust among the team members. The author says “No quality or characteristic is more important than trust” (Lencioni, 2005, p. 13). He explains that the concept demands that members of a team become vulnerable and comfortable with saying things like “I need help, I was wrong, or I am sorry” (Lencioni, 2005, p. 18). He suggests beginning with personal histories exercise in which he recommends the facilitator to showcase respectful appreciation and focused listening. The team should then move to behavioral profiling using the MBTI tool to help in describing and understanding others.             The other dysfunction that the author offers is the fear of conflict among the team members, which prevents the development of ideas. Lencioni explains that trust is a precursor to mastering conflicts since this creates a basis for the honest pursuit of the truth.  He then suggests ways of assisting teams towards having productive conflict. These include both collective and individual conflict profiling, defining the rules of engagement or culture, unearthing and encouraging healthy conflicts, and identifying and eliminating the obstacles.  Thirdly, Lencioni addresses the hurdle of lack of commitment.  He describes two concepts; buy-ins and clarity. He says “Teams must master the skill of disagreeing and committing and eliminate any ambiguities and assumptions” (Lencioni, 2005, p. 53)…

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