John R. Kowalski Integrative Marketing Fusion

Building a Cohesive Team: Lessons from “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”

Building a Cohesive Team: Lessons from “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”

Lencioni, Five dysfunctions, team

In my many years leading marketing teams, I’ve realized that the difference between success and failure often comes down to team dynamics. You can have the most brilliant individuals, but their talents could be better used if they work together effectively. Let’s dive in to build a cohesive team. And as the old saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

This is why Patrick Lencioni’s seminal book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” resonated with me so strongly. Through insightful storytelling, Lencioni lays bare the common pitfalls that cause teams to struggle. More importantly, he provides a compelling model for overcoming these dysfunctions and building truly cohesive teams.

At the foundation is an absence of trust. For teams to function at the highest level, there must be a willingness to be vulnerable and to admit mistakes and weaknesses. Only then can real growth occur. With trust comes the ability to engage in healthy conflict around ideas. Disagreement shouldn’t be feared but rather seen as an engine for innovation.

From there, team members must commit to decisions and shared goals. They may not always agree, but they need to buy in. This leads to the fourth dysfunction: avoidance of accountability. High-performing teams call out actions and behaviors that hurt the team. Finally, this enables a team to focus on collective results rather than individual achievements.


Reading this book made me reflect on my leadership. Have I created an environment of trust and healthy conflict? Do we commit to clear goals and hold each other accountable? Are we truly results-focused?

As I strive to build marketing teams that can navigate a fast-changing landscape, I keep coming back to Lencioni’s insights. By consciously working to address these dysfunctions, we can unlock the full potential of our people and achieve extraordinary things together. It’s not always easy, but that’s exactly why it’s so important.

If you haven’t read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” I highly recommend it. But more than that, I encourage you to look hard at your teams. Identify where you struggle and commit to improving. The journey to building an exceptional team is ongoing, but the professional and personal rewards are immense.

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