Seeing VPEC-T everywhere

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Richard Veryard

Oct 6, 2009, 10:24:38 AM10/6/09
Just saw a post called "The five dysfunctions of a team". Apparently
this is the title of a new book.

So I immediately thought it would be a good idea to try and map these
against VPEC-T.

In summary, the five are as follows.

1. Absence of trust, specifically personal trust and exposing
vulnerability to other team members. The role of the leader is to go
first in order to show that it’s okay to make mistakes.

2. Fear of conflict, which can lead to misunderstandings because
people don’t speak their mind. The role of the leader is to search out
conflict amongst team members, draw out the issues and wrestle with

3. Lack of commitment, particularly to tough decisions. The role of
the leader is to force clarity and closure on those decisions to
ensure that everyone is committed to upholding them.

4. Avoidance of accountability. The role of the leader is to
confront difficult issues, such as problematic team behaviors.

5. Inattention to results. The role of the leader is to focus on
collective outcomes, not allowing a “superstar” on the team to make
themselves look good to the detriment of the team result.

1 and 2 are obviously Trust and Values. 3 looks like Policy. I am
going to count 4 as Events, based on the argument that the emergence
of a difficult issue is an event. Which means 5 must be Content - the
primary task of the team.

Not a perfect fit, but it kind of works if I squint a bit. So what can
I conclude from this?

* With the benefit of VPEC-T, I could probably do some useful work on
refining and clarifying the five dysfunctions.

* But this kind of exercise risks distorting both the original
material and VPEC-T.

* So is seeing VPEC-T everywhere a good idea or not?

Christopher Bird

Oct 6, 2009, 5:53:04 PM10/6/09
When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem is a fingernail (ouch).
But seriously, I suspect that we need lenses/filters to look at problems through. So we build an armory of techniques and approaches. The most recent weapons in the armory are probably the first that we try. Of course if that first set deoens't work, then we may revert to previous behaviors.
Also, I think that because we are not explicit about trust in many other frameworks, VPEC-T's emphasis on trust conditions us to go down that road. It is a good road for many problems. Perhaps not ideal for all, but certainly a good one.

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