The word of the year at DynaTech is “improvement.”  It’s not glitzy, fancy, or catchy.  It doesn’t grab you with the intensity of the 1980s and 1990s buzz word “kaizen,” which by the way means “improvement” in Japanese. But it’s a word that every employee at DynaTechunderstands.

Improvement is a never-ending effort at DynaTech; it’s not just a 2011 event. Improvement has been a focus before this year and it will continue to occur in every year moving forward, if DynaTech President has anything to do with it.  It involves everyone in the organization, from its visionary leader –Risser – to every technician and office assistant. 

But this year improvement is an integral catalyst and component in DynaTech’s ambitious growth plan.  To ensure success, DynaTech kicked off its first quarterly meeting of the year with the collective results of DISC and Business Values and Motivators assessments that each employee completed.

The good news was that DynaTech has done a great job at hiring and retaining people who share similar values and behavioral styles.  The bad news is that DynaTech has hired and retained employees who share similar values and behavioral styles! As I just wrote recently in another article, great minds thinking alike might be good for teamwork but it often stymies innovation. And innovation is critical if improvement is to occur.

That premise opened the door to a discussion at DynaTech that is likely to take the full course of this year if not longer to hash out:  what will it take to consider points of views and behavioral styles that conflict with your own?

The solution took me no further than the model espoused by Patrick Lencioni in his book “Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”  The #1 dysfunction of a team is the “Absence of Trust.”  According to Lencioni – and I agree, trust means different things to different people.  Trust is also hard to come by but very easy to lose.  Trust is about vulnerability, a comfort at expressing yourself without fear of admonishment or ridicule.  When DynaTech’s team behavioral and values “maps” were revealed, it was evident that trust among the team members was not perfect, but generally good – very good.

That discovery took DynaTech’s attention to Dysfunction #2: Fear of Conflict.  This is a potential challenge that everyone at DynaTech needs to face.  People who share similar behavioral styles and values tend to agree a lot. They see the world through a similar lens and approach tasks and people in much the same way.  They also tend to view conflict negatively so they avoid it.  Cooperation, collaboration, consensus, and compromise become valued more than achieving the goals you set.  As Lencioni states in his book, “teams that trust one another are not afraid to engage in passionate dialogue around issues and decisions that are key to the organization’s success.” 

The DISC and Values team maps opened the eyes to everyone at DynaTech that good people thinking alike may not be the best path to success. DynaTech is well on its way to overcoming all 5 dysfunctions and creating a high performing organization, where they can set aside individual needs and agendas and focus exclusively on what is best for the team.  At DynaTech improvement is more sales, more profit, higher customer satisfaction and retention, and individual contribution required to be a World-class Team… to live out their saying “ World Class in EVERYTHING we do … welcome to the school of power!”

To catch a glimpse of Ira Wolfe leading the DISC and Business Values discussion at DynaTech, click here.