Patrick:            Hey, everybody. I’m Pat V., and you’re listening to the Rise Above Your Best Podcast where I’m not only obsessed with searching out and interviewing individuals that are achieving great success to uncover their habits, but also in uncovering and presenting the research that proves that great success is available to anyone. It all starts when you believe in the power of rising above your best.

Patrick:            I’m so excited for this episode today in regards to talking about really two things. One is dysfunction in teams and individuals, and although that’s not the part that’s really exciting to me is the dysfunction, it’s more the ability that we have to overcome or prevent dysfunction. Whether it’s in a workplace setting or at home based on just a set of behaviors that I developed over 10 years ago and have continued to refine in terms of model that I use really as a cornerstone for a lot of the work that I do because I find that there’s so much opportunity that we have in terms of improving the relationships that we have, again, whether it’s at work or at home. It all comes down to behavior and how we interact with one another.

Patrick:            As part of this podcast, what I’m going to do is first talk about what are the dysfunctions as they were presented by an author, Pat Lencioni? Then, what are six behaviors that have been bundled into a package called CABLES? How can you use those to create the best relationships possible? Let’s get started.

Patrick:            Oftentimes, when I start presenting this work on dysfunctions and CABLES, I use a quote by Samuel Johnson that says, “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.” This is certainly one of those things because you’re going to listen to the six behaviors that I talk about and think that seems pretty basic, pretty common sense. I would agree, but as we all hear, common sense is oftentimes not really common application, and that’s what we need.

Patrick:            Intellectually, we understand this. It’s the application is where we oftentimes struggle. As you visualize what I’m talking about, I want you to think of two bridges. One is a rope bridge that’s all broken down and the rope is all frayed and the boards are all broken, and then right next to it as an image of the Golden Gate Bridge, this majestic, strong, long spanning bridge that runs this huge cable from tower to tower.

Patrick:            Really our relationships are one of probably those two things. Either they’re the rope bridge that every cable has just continued, would abuse the relationship or somebody has abused a relationship with us, and it’s just taken and taken and taken until finally there’s not a bridge there left. The other is the Golden Gate, which if I were to go up to the Golden Gate Bridge and somehow manage to cut 100 of those cables out of the thousands that are individually wrapped around that huge cable, nothing would happen to that bridge. It would stay as … Its integrity would stay there.

Patrick:            That really is just like the relationships we have with others that if we built enough cables in terms of positive behaviors, we’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to do the wrong thing. We’re going to hurt somebody’s feelings or neglect them. Something is going to happen. If we’ve built enough goodwill with that relationship, then there’s always the ability for us to come back and repair that. It might not be easy at times, but we always have that opportunity because the structure is strong enough because of all the previous behaviors that we had that were positive with that individual or with that team.

Patrick:            Now the problem comes in is when we look in terms of dysfunctions. Pat Lencioni in his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, really talks about, again, these five dysfunctions. He lays them out in terms of a pyramid type structure. At the first or at the base of this really is absence of trust. I would ask if you think about this and we go through it, you can think whether you’re at work or at home, this absence of trust can be in either places and often for the same reasons. If I’m at home and I go to speak and either I’m dismissed or I’m ridiculed or I’m embarrassed or made to feel embarrassed about what I said, then I probably am not going to speak up. If what I say is used against me at some point, then I’m less likely to really want to say how I’m really feeling.

Patrick:            The same thing happens in a workplace setting too. If I’m in a meeting and I make a suggestion or if I see somebody else make a suggestion, and I see somebody roll their eyes at them or they get ridiculed or they get blackballed or whatever it might be. If it’s not received positively then what have I learned? Don’t trust that I can say what we really want to say here, so I keep quiet.

Patrick:            When that happens, we don’t have real conflict. I think that’s oftentimes where people get confused because within an organization, we need conflict. At home, we need conflict. The problem is that we don’t have the right kind of conflict or we have conflict that’s unhealthy because it often gets personal as opposed to having healthy debates and dialogues over issues that we can speak our mind. As long as we’re doing it respectfully toward each other then we can agree to disagree, but it can be done in a way that I feel as though I can say what I really want to say and you’re not going to use it against me.

Patrick:            If we don’t have conflict, then we don’t really get buy-in, which is the third dysfunction. It says that I didn’t really trust I could say what I wanted to say. I never really felt as though I could challenge what we were doing or make a suggestion, so I’m really not going to buy into this. I’ll go along with it because quite frankly, it’s the safe thing to do. I think oftentimes, you’ll find in organizations, and this may happen at home too, that either you put your head in the sand or you put your head on the block. Anybody that’s been with an organization that has seen somebody put their head on the block, they know what happens. That’s probably a vacancy coming up so you learn quickly.

Patrick:            That can happen at home too. You see the negative effects from somebody else speaking up and you say, “I’m not going to do that myself.” It’s almost self-preservation. We have avoidance of accountability where it says that I’m not going to call you out on what you said that you were going to do because I haven’t bought into this in the first place, so why would I take that risk? I’ll let you just go about not doing what you said you’re going to do and ignore it.

Patrick:            When that happens, we go to the last dysfunction, which really is about siloing. It says that I’m just going to take care of myself. Maybe it’s at home. I go to my room or I withdraw from the family. If it’s in the community, I do the same thing with friends. If it’s at work, I take care of myself. I show up. I work from 9:00 to 5:00 or I take care of my team and then I’m gone. I’m not investing any more time in this because I can’t trust the people that I’m with. I haven’t bought into it. It goes on and on.

Patrick:            How do we turn this around? How can we prevent dysfunction within a team or within a family or within the community? Well, the model that I put together here is this idea of CABLES. The idea here is that each one of these behaviors that when we add on top of each other builds trust, and the ability to be able to have conflict, and to get real buy-in and hold each other really accountable. Also, rather than work siloing is that we collectively are able to work as a unit, and that benefits you wherever you are.

Patrick:            The first of these behaviors, so to speak, and again the model is CABLES, which is an acronym for the six behaviors, and the first one is congruent. It’s this idea of walking the talk that that is a pillar of trust, and we can all think of those people that we’re around or the organizations we’re part of. If they said one thing but didn’t follow through on it, there was no trust. An organization that says it values its employees but acts in a way that’s incongruent with that loses trust. At home, if I hold somebody accountable to something but I don’t follow through on it myself, then there’s a lack of trust because I’m not walking the talk. I’m not doing what I am expecting others to do.

Patrick:            The next one that we move on to is the A, which really has two behaviors to it. One is around appreciation, and that says that we’re all different, and that if I can find ways to understand maybe why you behave the way you do or to look at maybe some of the things you do as a positive, then the likelihood is I will find more of those things because we often find what we’re looking for in somebody else. If I go in with a negative attitude towards you and why I don’t like you, then I will find more and more reasons why I don’t like you.

Patrick:            The other part is around accolades, and that’s recognizing people on your team or at home or in the community for the contributions they make, the positive things that they do. A quick way to think of this is in what I call RPMs, recognizing positive moments. Just like when you’re in your car and you look at your RPMs, if they’re running too low, your car probably stalls out. If they run too high, your engine probably burns out.

Patrick:            Recognizing positive moments is really very much the same thing. It’s that when we recognize people too little for their contributions, they become disengaged, and there becomes dysfunction. If we recognize people too much and it’s seen as insincere, then we create disengagement as well. That’s where that RPM is too high. It’s almost seen as manipulative, but there’s that sweet spot that you can recognize people, and it does create trust and engagement when we do that.

Patrick:            From there, we move on to the B and that’s about being for others. Gary Vaynerchuk on his podcast talks a lot about the 51% rule. I think it really does apply here, this idea of any relationship I go into, if I can try and provide 51% of the value, I’m always giving a little bit more than I’m getting. When I do that, a couple of things happen from an influence standpoint. One is I activate reciprocity, and that’s that internal drive that we have to want to do something for somebody that’s done something for us. The other is this idea of liking that we tend to like people more that we find as more like ourselves and more generous. We went on two fronts there when we do that.

Patrick:            Moving on from there, we go to the L, which is around listening, which can be one of the most difficult. In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, he often talks about seeking first to understand. I think with listening, that really is so critical that we do that. Listening really involves not just our ears but listening with our eyes and our mind and really our heart as well. When we listen with our ears, it’s what’s the tone? When we listen with our eyes, it’s what’s the body language, facial expressions of somebody? When it’s listening with our mind, it’s that idea of what might be missing or what might I be missing is more like it in terms of what this person is trying to say? Rather than just jumping to a conclusion, is there something more to this?

Patrick:            Listening with the heart really is about trying to say, “If I was sitting where they’re sitting and they were speaking to me, how would I want to be listened to?” Trying to provide that, and that’s really where we build trust, and we can all again think of whether at home or in the community or at work, when we had been around people that truly are trying to listen to us. They’re demonstrating a real commitment to listening, not just hearing, but really listening. We trust them more. It creates a better relationship when we do that. Again, that’s building CABLES.

Patrick:            The next one is empathy. That again is listening with the heart. It’s certainly trying to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. We hear a lot today about vulnerability. Really when we talk here, vulnerability, that’s even not good enough. The work that I do, I challenge people to say, “You really have to almost be intentionally vulnerable.” What that means is that you’re actively looking for those opportunities where I’m going to almost put myself in harm’s way. I’m going to say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. I don’t know,” before I’m going to try and think of, “Well, what’s the excuse or what’s the rationale that maybe I wasn’t wrong or I am right or you’re the one that should be saying you’re sorry?” Looking at it from my perspective first when we do that.

Patrick:            Again, we can all think of those people who have been around that, those people that are open about saying, “You know what? I don’t know the answer. Guess what? I was wrong here. You know what? I want to let you know that what we did here, the decision I made wasn’t the right decision at that time and I’m sorry. I know it had a negative impact on you.” That goes so far in terms of building trust going forward.

Patrick:            The last one is the S, which stands for specifics, which really is about clear expectations. Again, when we don’t have clear expectations, it’s very easy to lose trust in somebody else because we don’t know where we’re going. You and I may think that we understand what we need from each other, but without clear expectations, we get to the end and find out that, you know what? What I wanted and what you gave me was not really what I had expected. There’s so much room for disengagement and dysfunction when we have ambiguity.

Patrick:            The other part of clear expectations is the accountability piece to it. It’s that we can set clear expectations, but if we don’t hold each other accountable to those expectations, then what we do is we train each other that it’s not really that important. That’s really what we do, is we train people how to treat us. By not holding somebody accountable to what they said they were going to do with clear expectations that were established, then all we’ve done is basically almost in a sense gone to congruence again. We’re not walking the talk. We say this is important, but we don’t hold each other accountable to it.

Patrick:            When we look back on this model of CABLES, really the ability for us is to … The challenging relationships that we have is to ask ourselves, what part of this do I own? Because as right as we think we are, generally the other person does as well, and there’s probably somewhere in the middle there where we both share responsibility for this. If I can look at those behaviors and say, which one of those do I own? Because I probably do own at least one of them that’s creating the disengagement or the dysfunction that we have, again, whether it’s at home, in the community or in the office. If it’s congruent, am I not walking the talk or maybe I’m not being perceived as walking the talk?

Patrick:            If it’s appreciation, have I really made an effort to understand the other person’s back story? Have I recognized them enough for what they are doing? Maybe that’s part of the problem here. If it’s the B in being for others, maybe I haven’t done my fair share of the work here, and that’s what’s causing the problem. Maybe it’s being perceived that I’m not doing enough of that 51%. Maybe it’s listening. Have I really listened to this other person and not just listen so that I can give them my point of view? Have I truly listened with especially my mind and with my heart in this conversation? Have I shown empathy? Have I really shown empathy for this situation in terms of where this other person is coming from?

Patrick:            Lastly, are there really clear expectations here? Do we each really know what we want from each other? What does a good relationship look like going forward? If that’s said, how do I make sure we hold each other accountable to making that happen?

Patrick:            As you look back on these six behaviors on CABLE, you can always ask yourself, have I added or have I taken away CABLE here? Because when it comes right down to it, you’re the engineer, the architect and the builder of essentially your relationship bridges; and those are work relationship bridges or personal work relationship bridges, but they’re relationship bridges. The CABLES that you choose will determine the stability of that bridge that you travel on. It’s your behaviors that will either build bridges or create barriers with others. It’s truly in your hands.

Patrick:            I hope you found this podcast helpful on the dysfunctions of a team, again, whether a work team or a personal team. I hope you have found value in the CABLES model in those six behaviors and how you can apply them in your own situations. I promise you that if you do the work and you look to the situations that you’re in and you ask yourself those questions right down the line of which of those behaviors are you responsible for, you will have unbelievable relationships on teams, at home, and in the community.

Patrick:            If you found this helpful, it would be such an honor for me if you were to rate this and leave a comment on iTunes because that’s how this message continues to get out. It allows me to help other people to rise above their best. Until our next podcast, I hope you were able to gain value from this and rise above your best.

Thanks For Listening!

To share your thoughts:


To help out the show:

  • Leave and honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes


Thanks for joining me this week.