High Performance: The power of cohesive teams

February 22, 2016 -  By

One of the best ways to become a magnet for talent is to build a culture of cohesive teams. After all, everyone wants to be part of something special. Teams that are firing on all cylinders are the most attractive teams. This is true in business, sports, clubs, and in every organization on the planet. People working on cohesive teams have no desire to leave. They are engaged, committed and focused.

On the contrary, nobody wants to be part of something mediocre or bad. Growing up in Michigan, I’ve had the opportunity to witness first-hand the long-term effect of this with the Detroit Lions. Year after year, the woeful Lions select the top college draft picks but it makes no difference. Individual talent cannot overcome a culture of mediocrity or dysfunction.

Take a look at one of your teams. You may be on several teams or you may not feel like you’re a part of a team at all. Either way, focus your attention on one single team that you currently are a part of. Would you say this team is cohesive or dysfunctional? Are they more like the Denver Broncos or the Detroit Lions?

It’s not an easy question to answer without some type of framework to make such an assessment. In his landmark book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” Patrick Lencioni outlines 5 behaviors of a cohesive team, along with the correlating 5 behaviors of a dysfunctional team. Simply put, the 5 behaviors of a cohesive team are: trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and results.

Teams that are willing to be completely vulnerable with one another have trust. When trust is present, productive conflict around concepts and ideas may occur. When conflict is productive, it leads to commitment among team members. When commitment is in place, there may be peer-to-peer accountability. When accountability persists among team members, results are produced.

Now think of your team in light of these 5 behaviors. Is your team mostly cohesive or dysfunctional?

Now go forth.

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About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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