Job or Joy & The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Some weeks ago I was asked to facilitate the warm-up for our management offsite. It was the first offsite for this group of people as there had been some changes in the management lately. I thought it would be a good idea to start with “Job or Joy” and then raise the participant’s awareness of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team from Patrick Lencioni.

I found “Job or Joy” on It “helps you discover what you and your colleagues like best and least about your jobs” and it also helps you to get to know your colleagues better in general.

You need to prepare a (big) chart with four quadrants and name those joy, hobbies, chores and job. Explain to the participants what the exercise is about and then give them about 5 minutes to write as many post-its about themselves for each quadrant as they like. After that each participant introduces her-/himself to the group while sticking the post-its in the corresponding quadrant.


Here are two observations that will most probably happen with any group:

  1. Every participant will learn something “new” about another participant, no matter how long they have known each other or have worked together: “I didn’t know that you like/hate…”
  2. There are more post-its on the upper half (Likes) than on the lower half (Dislikes). Actually there are the most post-its in the “hobbies” quadrant.

Here are some non-scientific explanations? 🙂
We think we already know colleagues we’ve been working together for a long time. Often we reduce them to a person of our working life and forget about the fact that there’s more to life than work. With “Job or Joy” you learn more about your colleagues and recognize (again) more the person than her/his job activities. (“It’s the person John and not the developer John.”)

It seems very natural, that we prefer to talk about what we like than to talk about what we don’t like. That explains why there are more post-its in the upper half of the chart.
But wouldn’t it be great to have at least the same amount of post-its (likes) on the right and left quadrant of the upper half? Like writing a project report is the same joyful activity as playing soccer. Any suggestions here? 🙂

The connection to Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team:
When we start to share other aspects of our lives than work with our colleagues, we also start to speak openly with them about other things. Additionally we start to lower our protection shields. And all this starts to build trust which would be a starting point for overcoming the first dysfunction of a team.

five-dysfunctions-of-a-teamIn functional teams, team members feel comfortable with being exposed to the others and to honestly admit: “I made a mistake.” or “I need help.” or “I’m sorry.” or “You can do this much better than me.” Furthermore it is also a great sign of trust within a team, when you can openly address that you don’t like what is/has happened.

Not all members of the management read the book already. But I think they at least got a little curious, especially after I mentioned that the story of the book is actually about a management team at an offsite… 😉

As Lencioni describes in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team it is, of course, not that easy to establish trust with only one excercise. Nevertheless “Job or Joy” seems to be a great exercise to start overcoming the first dysfunction of a team: “Trust”.