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5 Dysfunctions of a Team That May Cripple Your Risk Management Culture .

5 Dysfunctions of a Team That May Cripple Your Risk Management Culture

Team That May Cripple Your Risk Management Culture .

Team dysfunctions are the most familiar problems that leaders encounter these days even after having assembled the best talented team members. It is essential to identify the signs of a dysfunction and enact on them that will create a healthy risk management culture within the organization.

Cultivating proper organizational culture among the team members will result in good risk management culture. In his book 'Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team', Patrick Lencioni has stated clearly the 5 dysfunctions that cripple the team, which in turn endanger enterprise risk management.These are:

Absence of trust

When a team is successful, they trust on each other. They accept the criticism and try to improve on their weak point. However if the team is dysfunctional, there is lack of trust, back-bitching and doubt on each other.  

Fear of Conflict

Members of great team are not uncomfortable to engage in good conflict and compete on their ideas. But when a team is dysfunctional, the members display the lack of good conflict which can drive the organization towards excellence. 

Lack of Commitment

Members of great teams are personally committed to the achievement of the goals of the team. When team doesn't trust each other and doesn't engage in healthy conflict, it is difficult to commit to common team goals. 

Avoidance of Accountability:

Successful teams hold each other equally accountable for the results and outcomes of the project. 
"As the leader, you are the ultimate arbiter of accountability, but you should never be the primary arbiter of accountability," said Jeff Gibson, IT professional consultant.

Inattention to Team Results: 

The moment a team member stops looking to the overall results and achievement of the team, it becomes a great dysfunction for the team. Obviously every team member has to focus on their personal accomplishments, but alongside, overall team results is important. Therefore articulating priorities becomes all-the-more important.

Crises Management- what to do when an organization's culture is dysfunctional?

  • Communicate: It may sound as simple as that, but an open, direct and honest communication is the basic step in troubleshooting the dysfunction. Talking to employees about their interests and goals in life creates a mutual rapport in between the employees and leaders.

  • Take a strong lead: You need to take a stand at the time of crises by acting, rather than just saying.

  • Prioritize on the important values: It is important to remind the mission or objective of the organization to the employees while they play a broader role in the team.


Great teams are not built in one day. It requires a great deal of awareness, effort, mutual trust and commitment for the team leader to bind the team together as a champion team. Smart decisions and solid communication are the base of good leadership. 

The relationship between good practices and lower probability of a dysfunctional team is not a linear one. Data from surveys indicate as the number of good practices aiding risk management increases, the level of dysfunctional behaviours lowers. On the other hand, when the level of good practice reaches its peak, the level of dysfunctional behaviours returns sharply to its previous level. 

It is imperative to develop a solid Enterprise Risk Management strategy for the organization to facilitate the business success and benefits.

Crisis Management in ERM

The basic aim of Enterprise Rise Management is to identify the nature of crisis and face it efficiently. Crisis can materialize at any point of time. Periodic review of organization policies and mechanism of the organization will ensure that the crisis is identified. It is a necessity to have an effective and comprehensive risk management as a prerequisite tool of good corporate governance. 

Appoint a Crisis Specialist Board

When the organization is able to identify the common reasons of corporate crisis, it must immediately set up a panel of Crisis response team to address it. A crisis management plan is essential to minimize loss and litigation, in case the crisis are issues like Board involvement and role, political, regulatory, employees, customers, vendors, suppliers, reputation and brand. 

Develop policies to minimize the crisis situations

The role of the Crisis Specialist Board would be to frame policies and enact them to avoid the crisis. Create a file of information that addresses potential crisis situations and keep it up to date. 

Adopt a Communication Plan

To establish an open and fact-based communication plan is vital to get through the crisis. These include employees, vendors, customers, suppliers and regulators. Monitoring and investigating the social media along with planning strategies go hand in hand. 

Social Media interest automatically follows wherever there is a crisis. Media may get pushy to extract the exact information. It is necessary to keep them informed. The Board must figure out its role to the media. The two sources of media that can be reached are Broadcast media and local and regional media.

  • Broadcast media: Bring the situation under control. These are generally live cast media whose effects are short lived.
  • Local and Regional Media: will have a long term effect as these are print media.

An efficient team can support to resolve most major crises at premature stage. This can be developed if every team member is prepared to take active responsibility of protecting the organization's value at every stage. Team leaders can inculcate this habit gradually that will give way to healthy risk management culture.


About Author
 Zaid ObeidallahZaid Obeidallah – Senior Consultant at  CAREweb - Corporate Governance Consultancy offering  Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) software used by the well known business organizations including hospitals, manufacturing firms, governmental agencies and more for different purposes.

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