How to Overcome an Inattention to Results in 8 Easy Steps

Mar 6, 2017Training

Once upon a time, there was a man named Bill


Bill was hired for his impressive education, extensive relevant experience and high IQ. He seemed to be the perfect candidate.

A driven, commanding individual – the rest of the executive team figured that he would be someone who would get stuff done!

However, a few short months into his new role, problems started to emerge on the team.

The atmosphere changed from one of collaboration to one of competition.

Everyone seemed to be ‘looking out for number one’, and they began to put their individual career goals above team goals.

After a while, a sense of secrecy and isolation reigned as individuals forgot to let their team in on what work they were doing.

This story is a classic case in point of Lencioni’s fifth and final dysfunction of a team: inattention to results, stemming from status and ego.


What does a team that doesn’t suffer from an inattention to results look like?


When a team is experiencing an inattention to results, it won’t perform well long term.

The increased focus on individual work inevitably leads to slowed progress and a decline in team performance because people aren’t being held accountable.

However, a team that moves ego and status out of the way works well together as a team and takes collective responsibility for team results.

As Lencioni points out, these teams minimise distractions and retain achievement-oriented employees.

Below are eight tips that will help your team overcome an inattention to results.


8 steps to overcome an inattention to results

Step 1: Get to know one another


Coaching Positive Performance makes the point that the first step in building an effective team is making sure that everybody gets to know one another.

Learn how best to work together as a team. Simply knowing each other’s names is not enough to produce great work.

TTI tools provide extraordinary insights into individual’s behaviours, driving forces, acumen, competencies and EQ.

We can also produce a Driving Forces Team Graph which when printed and put on the wall, can serve as a reminder of how different team members are motivated in the workplace and the  best approach to take in a conversation or on a group project.

See below for an example of a Driving Forces Team Graph.



Step 2: Define success


If everyone is paddling in different directions, the boat won’t go anywhere! Work teams need to have a shared vision of success.

Stop, reflect and ask team members to consider the following question: ‘What does success look like for our team?’ Then discuss everyone’s answers.

There should be no ambiguity around the team’s vision of success or the big goal it is striving to achieve.


Step 3: Set clearly defined, objective goals and targets


Great teams not only know where they are going, but they can clearly see the steps they need to take to get there.

When you are confident of the team member’s preferred work styles and are confident that team members share the same vision of success, the next step is to work as a team to define and lay out a strategy.

To avoid an inattention to results, get input from team members. They may prefer to share the workload in a different way than you would.


Step 4: Celebrate small successes


Big goals and tasks can be daunting, so break things down into more manageable tasks.

Smaller goals with visible results can give confidence and persistence to keep moving towards the end goal, and it can avoid an inattention to detail.

Most importantly, be sure to celebrate the successes of team members.

inattention to results



Step 5: Focus on effort made cited an interesting piece of research conducted by the University of California, which found that children who are praised for their performance are more likely to take on challenging tasks in the future than children who are praised more generally (e.g. ‘you’re a great girl’).

Too much general praise can have the opposite effect, and can in fact demotivate people.

While the research was carried out on toddlers, it still rings true for adults in the workplace.

Praise works best when it’s specific to the effort being made.


Step 6: Remind people of their contributions


To keep people motivated and avoid an inattention to results, it’s a good idea to remind people regularly of how their work is contributing to the team.

Link the success of individuals back to the entire team, and show how each person’s effort is bringing the team closer to it’s goal.


Step 7: Encourage people to share their results publicly


According to Lencioni, it’s a good idea to get people to declare their results and objectives in public, as this holds them accountable.

It is embarrassing to have to stand in front of your team and tell them why you didn’t put in enough effort.

Sharing results makes it more likely that team members will stick to their deadlines.


inattention to results


Step 8: Keep focused on metrics


To overcome an inattention to results, keep team members’ attention on metrics.

In this brilliant article by Lorna Rickard of BeyeNETWORK, she mentions that great teams focus on what benefits both the team and themselves.

A good idea is to write everybody’s goals and tasks on a project sheet, and put it on the wall.


Final thoughts…


Inattention to results is the ultimate dysfunction of a team, and it stems from status and ego.

Teams that are too individually focused don’t function as well as a team that works for the collective good of the group.

Think back on what happened with Bill’s arrival. The team stopped functioning as a unit and started focusing on individual goals.

This doesn’t work long term.

So, which of the above tips do you need to implement today?

Feel free to get in touch and let us know how they worked for you. As always, we would love to hear from you!

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Join me, Padraig Berry, and Ronan Flood for an in dept discussion where we will give you our best tips to forming highly successful teams.

Some of the topics we will cover are:

  • Absence of Trust
  • Fear of Conflict.
  • Lack of Commitment.
  • Accountability.
  • How to achieve Collective Success.


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