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Book Review :Rajiv Recommends…

Rajiv Recommends…The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lenceoni is a must read for startup executives.  Told in the form of a story, it follows a new CEO as she works through issues with her executive team.  She diagnoses that there are five dysfunctions she has observed: the absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.  These are all common problems which can cripple all team environments but are especially important in small start up environments in which everyone needs to be working towards the same goal and the key bottleneck to success is the team’s time.

At S3, we have seen this book help in many ways across multiple companies.  Some teams have everyone in the company read the book while some teams run the team assessment quiz included in the book at executive off-sites.  It helps them frame the discussion about what is working with the team and what is not.  It also shows how valuable executive off-sites can be for fast growing companies (most of S3’s portfolio companies do annual or semi-annual off-sites).  Overall, it is a great book and a quick read that every startup team should read.