As the economy improves, gaps in the system are becoming more visible. Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, can shed light on this issue. The first characteristic of a successful team is trust. The most obvious place this dysfunction is found in a remodeling company is in the gap between sales and production.

What is trust? The classic definition is that it’s the ability to predict that someone will act in a specific way. But in the team dynamic, it’s the ability to predict that someone is acting in the best interests of the team.

For example, if a detail is left out of a plan, the production team must accept the mistake as an honest oversight and not a deliberate attempt by the sales team member to push a project through without completing the package.

How is trust created? In First, Break All the Rules, authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman make a great point about delegation: We either trust people or we don’t.

If someone is generally distrustful, no one can earn that person’s trust. They’re waiting for someone to make a mistake. If someone breaks the trust of a trusting person, he or she releases them and gives that trust to another.

Trust is more about mindset than someone else’s behavior.

Does your team trust? Though a lack of trust may cause owners to have a disquieting feeling, there are some real-world indicators.

A common one is overages on material and labor with every project budget. Another indicator is a decline in customer satisfaction. Field staff might subconsciously complain about sales — complaints that make clients uneasy. If the field crew thinks the sales department is deliberately not providing complete packages, they are likely to work with less urgency because they don’t feel appreciated. Work gets done, but not to the level needed for profit.

Finding solutions. Managers must work toward creating a cohesive and trusting bond between the sales and production teams. Define the responsibilities for each department. Allow the members to shadow one another so that they can experience the issues that face each department. If there is an issue, define it and ask the entire team to contribute toward a solution.

Tim Faller is president of Field Training Services and author of The Lead Carpenter Handbook.

Tim Faller's article on the second characteristic of a successful team, Group Dynamics.