Failing the Team

Dr. Kevin Gazzara
3 min readJul 31


The impromptu speech below was developed by Dr. Kevin Gazzara in 2001 when he was managing Intel’s first-line management and leadership development programs. This speech was delivered in response to a management simulation (The Chain Gang - created by Bill Daniels) where 10 teams were consistently missing performance expectations. It was observed that no team members were willing to address known performance issues of other individual team members. Teams were willing to accept having the team fail rather than constructively confront the issues and move the team to breakthrough success. When this speech was delivered to all of the non-performing teams and performance success was achieved in 100% of the teams. This simulation had been run with thousands of people and this was the first time 100% success was achieved.

Do you have a team that is failing due to a team member’s inadequate performance? If so, you may want to consider delivering this speech to the team.

Failing the Team Speech

· The team isn’t failing, 1 person, or more than 1 person, on the team is failing the team”. If there are issues that are keeping the team from reaching its full potential, then action is required.

· Some performance management is needed to fix the problems. Not addressing the issue is the same as making a conscious decision to have the team and potentially the organization fail. Supervisors can be the problem as easily as the workers.

· Before you become accusational, give every member of the team the opportunity to talk first and quickly acknowledge if they are the problem, or they are contributing to the problem, that is keeping the team from performing at its highest potential.

· Once all of the team members have spoken, work with them to solve, resolve or dissolve the problem(s). If they didn’t accept responsibility, and any team member recognizes that person is a constraint to meeting the collective goal, you need to own addressing it and getting it fixed (assumed responsibility).

· Remember conversations can be taken in 2 ways; 1) as an opportunity or 2) as a threat. Make sure that these conversations are taken as an opportunity. Be constructive! Be direct! Fix the problem(s) immediately and create the potential for

Dr. Kevin Gazzara

CEO of Magna Leadership Solutions, Certified Positive Intelligence Coach, Management Expert, Professor, Speaker, and Author. Contact: