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Consortium for Service Innovation

Technique 8.4: Promote Teamwork

Since the foundation of KCS is capturing and improving the collective experience of the organization, teamwork and collaboration are critical. While tools can enable collaboration, the behaviors are what drives the benefits. And, the behaviors are heavily influenced by the culture of the organization. Creating a culture of collaboration and collective ownership is the leader's responsibility. The leader needs to ensure the environment nurtures and recognizes collaboration that is creating value. In our experience, most teams could use some work in this area. Historically, organizations have focused so heavily on individual contribution the shift to valuing collaboration and teamwork can be a challenge. For example, the old management practice of stack racking individuals is hugely dysfunctional if we want create a knowledge sharing, collaborative environment.  Fortunately, organizations are moving, albeit slowly, to recognizing collaboration and teamwork as important competencies.  A fairly well established and successful example of this shift from individual contribution to team capability is the adoption of the Agile Methodology in software development environments.  The same kind of shift that software development has made with Agile is necessary for long term KCS success.  

Applying "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team"

Patrick Lencioni's book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, calls out the hallmarks to watch for when assessing the health of the team. From his website,, we can see the following list of issues and strategies for overcoming them:

Overcoming Dysfunction


In the appendix of Lencioni's book, he offers a simple survey for assessing the health of an organization. It appears to be the best tool available. We have found it to be relevant to small teams as well as large teams. KCS is a team sport; The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a great resource for organizations adopting KCS.

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