In a pattern established in his two earlier books, Lencioni devotes some 180 pages to a realistic but fictional story that illustrates core business concepts. This excerpt is taken from the last 40 pages, which include a short questionnaire plus exercises and other tools for identifying and overcoming the five dysfunctions. For more information, visit the Web site of Lencioni's Bay Area consulting firm, The Table Group, at

“Dysfunction 2: Fear of Conflict All great relationships, the ones that last over time, require productive conflict in order to grow … Unfortunately, conflict is considered taboo in many situations, especially at work … But teams that engage in productive conflict know that the only purpose is to produce the best possible solution in the shortest period of time. They discuss and resolve issues more quickly and completely than others, and they emerge from heated debates with no residual feelings or collateral damage, but with an eagerness and readiness to take on the next important issue.”