a3-52 control towerYou are in the process of staffing your SCM Control Tower. This group will be drawn from different areas of your company (different "silos") and different skill sets (for example, a "hazmat" expert). Is your SCM Control Tower going to be a team building melting pot or a boiling cauldron of dis-function. You could draw the brightest and most hard working employees in and outside of your company; but if they don't get along, it could wreck your business.
Jeff Gibson of The Table Group Inc. gave a presentation on 5 team dysfunctions that could spell disaster for any IT department at a recent Gartner Business Intelligence Summit. Substitute "SCM Director" for "CIO" and "supply chain workers" for "IT workers" and these are some really great ideas. Communications can be difficult and must embrace the personal relationship side of the business. If you have an unhealthy organization, it just isn't going to accomplish the mission. Let's look at these five dysfunctions and see how they relate to a healthy team culture.

Lack of trust: No, this is not the degree of trust one has in a coworker's ability to meet deadlines, or in the logic of what a fellow employee is trying to say even if he doesn't say it well. Instead, it is "vulnerability-based trust": do people on the team have the capacity to be open and honest and vulnerable with each other, to be human, to be able to ask for help when they need it, to be able to say they made a mistake, or -- here's the kicker -- to be able to say, 'I'm sorry.' To overcome, leaders must lead by example. This means admitting to mistakes, let the team see you sweat. It will give you creditability. You need to reinforce by demanding the same from your team. And, like you, let them know they could be fired. Knowing you could be fired influences your behavior; the same will influence your team.

Fear of conflict: People see the word conflict and connect it to yelling, screaming and shouting, but in an environment seeded with vulnerability-based trust, conflict becomes the search for truth, according to Gibson. Each leader must figure out how to approach this depending on their team. Constructive debate is an option. The leader might "mine for conflict" : watch for team members who are holding back then confront them. Might stir up some disagreements....some emotional. That is good! Get the issue out in the open and settled. Then the team can move on.

Lack of commitment: You know those employees. Passively agree to a decision. Later, complain or ignore the decision. Others don't understand the decision. Simple solution. Do a "wrap up" at the end of the meeting. Re-affirm the commitment.

Avoidance of accountability: Without commitment and clarity, it's impossible for team members to hold each other personally accountable for their behavior, according to Gibson. Here is where we can utilize peer pressure. Team members must be encouraged to "call to task" other team members who are falling by the wayside. Peer pressure is a great motivator. Members who care about co-workers, do not want to let them down.The leader must set the example by confronting difficult issues and looking to the team members to call the leader to task if things are not right. Then the concept will grow through the team.

Absence of a common goal: Employees can become distracted by their own personal needs and wants over the common goal of their team, which can become problematic.It is up to the leader to keep everyone focused on the team goals by communicating priorities. Gibson points out that most leaders belong to two teams: The one that they are leading, and the one to which they belong -- the executive leadership team, headed by their director or CEO. If leaders believe the team they lead takes precedence over the team they serve, this can cause difficulties and turn executive leadership team meetings into something more like Congressional sessions with everybody lobbying for their constituents. This will effect the organization as a whole and trickle down to the leaders own team.
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