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“Open, frank communication is the lynchpin to teamwork. A fractured team is like a fractured bone; fixing it is always painful and sometimes you have to re-break it to heal it fully – and the re-break always hurts more because it is intentional.” ~ Patrick Lencioni

Massive amounts of money are spent training people to become better presenters, better salespeople, better nurses, or doctors or leaders.

Money may be allotted for “team development.” And falling-backwards-trust-exercises work, sometimes, short-term.

Precious little is spent trying to help people connect honestly, in real time, clearly and collaboratively.

This is where trust is bred. Not in class rooms—in conversations.

My experience tells me that management often waits—as do spouses and parents and siblings everywhere—for something to be “broken” before seeking assistance.

We wait and hope things will get better, that the issue will dissipate, or better yet, disappear.

It rarely does.

Walking on a broken leg only makes it harder to repair.

When there is separation, confusion, or tension between people, we feel it. And hope it goes away. Way too many teams avoid frank communication for fear of a) making it worse or b) hurting someone else’s feelings or c) being dismissed or belittled.

Oh, the power of the ego!

Yet, that is the very moment, when we feel something, that a clear question could create an increase in trust and promote collaboration.

But, that would take trusting your own gut, measuring your words, and taking a risk. Being willing to step into the dark, frank, open conversation rarely takes place in bright light.

I’ve said it before; it bears repeating: Communication is the foundation upon which the bridge of connection is built, and the only place true cooperation occurs.

And, I believe, true confidence, too.

It may not be the only way to drive “teamwork” (fear-based motivation works, too, in the short-term) but it’s certainly the best way to avoid future fractures.

To massage Teddy Roosevelt’s words: “Walk softly and carry a scalpel.”

But first, learn how to use it skillfully.

Without your ego in command.

“Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” ~Patrick Lencioni


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