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You have all the right people working for you. They have the credentials, the experience and the commitment. But why can’t they work together as a team?

Much has been written about the benefits of teamwork. International corporates such as Procter & Gamble and General Electric spend enormous amounts on deploying a team-based strategy to achieve bigger, better results.

What they know and what we all need to understand is that building a collaborative culture is one of the single most important parts of running a successful business.  They know they need to invest in developing team skills and attitudes, and have, as a result, turned team development into a part of their corporate strategy for profit-making results.

So where do you start?

Building great teams must be done with an understanding of the underlying principles of team dynamics. Team this with the implementation of a single model and adapt it to your organisational needs and challenges.


Easy to say, hard to do

Anyone who has worked in different teams will know how easy it is for teams to become dysfunctional. We are all individuals with competing agendas, egos and different personality traits.  Couple this with limited resources, lack of trust or unclear priorities, and you have the recipe for a dysfunctional in a team.


What’s the result?

When teams are not functioning at their best this can produce unhealthy conflict, reduce productivity, create re-work and take the focus off results and high performance.

At the executive level this dysfunction has wider reaching impacts. It can be the decider between corporate success or failure. If an executive team can’t work together cooperatively, this can hamper the execution of strategy and impede successful change.

Patrick Lencioni author of the book 5 Dysfunctions of a Team outlined an approach to team development that involves teams needing to move through 5 levels of functioning in order to reach sustainable high performance. The levels are:

  • Dysfunction #1: Absence of Trust – The fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents the building of trust within the team.
  • Dysfunction #2: Fear of Conflict – The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive ideological conflict.
  • Dysfunction #3: Lack of Commitment – The lack of clarity or buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to.
  • Dysfunction #4: Avoidance of Accountability – The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding one another accountable.
  • Dysfunction #5: Inattention to Results – The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective success.

Team Development

How do you ‘fix’ a dysfunctional team?

Teams must start by building trust as a foundation and work methodically through the levels, assessing internal and external factors that affect the team dynamic.

MODAL has worked with hundreds of teams over the last 20 years and has used this experience to build a robust team performance program that will guarantee results. The program builds on the following aspects:

  • Building a deeper understanding of each other’s personality styles and drivers
  • Sharing aspects of what shaped each team member to be the leader they are today
  • Defining a purpose for the team (separate to the organisation’s purpose)
  • Determining a set of principles which guide how the team will function together
  • Reviewing meeting processes and structures
  • Defining which team is their most important team
  • Defining shared goals, mutual accountabilities and joint work products
  • Reviewing how and where team members spend their time
  • Surfacing the issues that are not being talked about that affect the team (naming the elephants in the room)
  • Agreeing on shared norms and models for giving feedback, addressing conflict and improving accountability

MODAL has worked with high performing teams from executive level through to project level with organisations such as BHP, Western Power, Alcoa, BGC and local government bodies.

“Our organisation has been focussed on developing a “one team” culture and have seen real value in partnering with MODAL on this, especially with the work they have done with the executive teamas we move towards high performance.

What I have liked about their approach has been the ability to engage all members of the executive team. In doing so the trust, cooperation and performance of the team has grown rapidly.”

Mark Newman  – Chief Executive Officer – City of Mandurah.

 Building a high-performance team is not just nice to have – it’s critical to your success as a business.

Scott Erskine

Scott Erskine

Scott has successfully delivered leadership and performance solutions for management across a number of industries including retail, resources, construction, government and finance and has worked with organistions such as BHP Billiton, Woodside, Rio Tinto, Veolia, Western Power, GESB, Ramsay Healthcare, Police & Nurses Mutual Banking, Flight Centre, and the Australian Defence Forces.