I’m reading Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. While reading it I couldn’t help but think about its application to damage prevention.
“Trust” is Lencioni’s basic building block. Trust is often referred to as the lubricant for working relationships. No doubt about its importance to maximize teamwork.
We know there are multiple behaviors that contribute to establishing trust within teams and with their stakeholders, including the following:
• Dependability by doing what one has agreed to do
• Competently completing job responsibilities
• Keeping confidential information confidential
• Keeping people informed with essential information
• Maintaining emotional consistency
Lencioni addresses the benefits of taking trust to the next level that he calls vulnerability-based trust. Specifically, that means members can be “completely comfortable being transparent and honest with one another, where they say and genuinely mean things like ‘I screwed up,’ ‘I need your help,’ ‘Your idea is better than mine,’ I wish I could learn to do that as well as you do,’ and even, ‘I’m sorry’” (page 27).
Think about that level of maturity required for this level of teamwork. Individually, you have to be confident, exhibit a positive self-esteem, and have humility. Yes, your ego is put in your back pocket and left there. Your demonstrated purpose is to work to support your company and the other stakeholders with whom you interact. That means you are willing to make personal sacrifices for the success of your company and even the damage prevention industry! Wow! Can you do that? Your answer to that question is determined by how good you really want to be.
If I asked you (like I have asked thousands of employees) “How good do you want to be?” You would say, “I want to be the best.” That is the politically correct answer. The challenge is I can’t get inside of your head to know the “real answer.” The truth of the matter is that many respondents are being overly optimistic, because these words are easy to say. You will, however, answer that question by what you do. Yes, all we have to do is watch you to learn your “real answer.” As you know, actions always speak louder than words. You need to make certain that your actions align with your words. This truism speaks to the very reason I advocate that organizationally every one of us is from the “Show Me” state, Missouri. We show people our true colors through our actions. You may need to spend time watching yourself to see what others see.
Lencioni wants to further stretch you and the team. He advocates that team members be so honest as to discuss how team members’ strengths and weaknesses impact each other and the overall teamwork dynamics. Ouch! Now your ego’s strength will be tested. Imagine the impact that level of honesty could have within your company and with other damage prevention stakeholders.
Don’t feel too badly. Most teams do not have the maturity to do that without assistance. Fortunately, there are tools available to facilitate these discussions, e.g., DISC, Myers-Briggs, and Social Styles. Yes, these self-assessments help reveal individual strengths and weaknesses and can facilitate a discussion of how each team member’s behavior positively and negatively impacts the team’s dynamics.
You may think that I’m trying to sell consulting services, but the fact of the matter is your team and your stakeholders would benefit from having this discussion facilitated by an objective third party. The beauty of completing this team profiling is that you have a better understanding of how individual team members impact teamwork.
In the final analysis, each team member has to answer the question — “Do I want to be good enough to be the team member that Lencioni writes about?” You know how I hope you answer this question.