The Table Group

A Patrick Lencioni Company
Barnes & Noble

A Fortune 500 retailer used The Five Dysfunctions of a Team model to promote greater teamwork and cooperation in each of their retail stores nationwide


Barnes & Noble, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, is the world's largest bookseller, operating 777 stores in 50 states. In an effort to steer the retailer's culture toward greater trust, commitment and cooperation, the retailer reached out to The Table Group to develop a custom program to equip all their store managers with tools, training and support to enhance teamwork at the store level.

Approach: Speaking Services, Training Services, Products and Books

Prior to rolling out Five Dysfunctions material to the stores, the VP of Stores brought Pat and Jeff, our VP Consulting in to conduct a Dysfunctions session with his Executive Leadership Team. Without buy-in at the executive level, large scale transformation can be difficult to cascade. Six weeks later, Pat and Jeff spent the day with the 80+ Regional and District Managers reviewing the model and discussing ways to integrate in throughout Barnes and Noble. From those sessions, the learning and development organization at Barnes and Noble along with Table Group consultants spent considerable time coming up with a team development program that would work within the Barnes and Noble culture and stores.

To launch this program into the stores, Pat Lencioni and seven Table Group Consultants conducted a session at the 2007 Store Managers Conference that combined lecture and break-out sessions. There, The Table Group introduced a custom "Building My Team" kit for Store Managers that provided a six week course to use at their weekly staff meetings. Pat addressed all the Store Managers in General session then each Table Group Consultant conducted a regionally based break-out session where they worked through the dysfunctions model and how to implement their kit in detail.

One year later, Pat returned to the Store Manager's Conference, to review the content with the store manager's and answer lingering questions. He also interviewed a number of Store Managers on stage about their application of The Five Dysfunctions, so their colleagues could learn from their experiences. In response to demand, The Table Group and Barnes and Noble developed additional modules on "Integrating a New Team Member" and "Tools for a New Store Manager".

Outcome: Team ideology became real to Store Managers and improvements in team functioning are found in every region

Store Managers received the tools and facilitation guidance to lead a "team" rather than a group of individual contributors.

After using The Five Dysfunctions for over 2 years, many Store Managers have reported greater collaboration and cooperation among their teams. Morale has improved in spite of a challenging economic environment. One store manager even reported that the tools in the book and the session have helped her develop the strongest team she's ever been a part of or led. According to Donna Lemaster, Director of Leadership Development at Barnes & Noble, "By reinforcing this approach in our management meetings, we have seen a dramatic improvement in our leadership, teamwork and performance."

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Barnes & Noble Uses

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: Online Team Assessment
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive
Table Group Consulting Services