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What is The 5 x 5 Model?

The 5 x 5 Model®

The 5 x 5 Model is a process-oriented performance management framework designed to support organisations seeking to introduce preferred organisational changes easily and effectively into the workplace.  This is achieved by engaging all employees to contribute in the development of an intentional organisational culture.  The process is efficient and effective and leads to meaningful change by establishing solid communication, building stronger and more trusting working relationships, and creating clarity around organisational outcomes and performance. 


Patrick Lencioni’s (2002) work on the 5 Dysfunctions of Teams names five common problems that can inhibit organisations’ ability to deliver on targeted goals and, in many cases, lead to poor performance.  The 5 common team dysfunctions described in Lencioni’s work are:

  • Absence of Trust

  • Fear of Conflict

  • Lack of Commitment

  • Avoidance of Accountability

  • Inattention to Results

The 5 Essential Team Functions

The 5 essential functions are interconnected domains of exploration, though they can be individual points of focus for a team or organisation. The 5 x 5 Model is multi-modal, which means any team or organisation can start the process of organisational change with whichever essential function seems most pertinent at that time.  The 5 x 5 Model is designed to improve team performance to address all 5 dysfunctions whilst designing a preferred organisational culture.  The results of using The 5 x 5 Model include increased trust in working relationships, open and honest communication, development of flexible and agile teams that can anticipate and thoughtfully respond to organisational challenges (rather than simply reacting to them), design of an intentional organisational culture that supports motivation, commitment and purposeful actions across the organisation, and the attainment of prioritized goals and objectives.

Intentional Culture

The phrase ‘Organisational culture eats strategy for breakfast’, coined by management consultant Peter Drucker, implies that it does not matter how good your strategic intentions are if your organisational culture prevents you from delivering against them.  For many organisations where ‘culture’ has not been discussed or even considered, an unintentional culture can develop which could undermine both employee engagement and commitment and the organisation’s ability to perform at their best and within the fiscal constraints they may be under.  Unintentional culture will develop if focus has not been a given to 4 key areas in the workplace: 


  • Rules

  • Behaviours & Interactions

  • Values & Beliefs 

  • Basic Assumptions


The 5 x 5 Model will help to bring these areas into sharp focus whilst supporting the design of a more preferred and intentional organisational culture that is aligned to the organisation’s vision and the values they pursue.

Psychological Safety

When the five common team dysfunctions are present in an organisation, it is highly likely that there is little-to-no psychological safety in the workplace.  Psychological safety is the ability to speak openly without fear of consequences, feeling accepted and respected by colleagues and believing that everyone is working together. Without this, teams and organisations are highly likely to experience a lack of motivation or commitment to the job or the organisation, both of which will limit the organisation’s potential to accelerate their market growth and become a leader in their sector.  By focusing on the essential team functions together and working through the tasks and activities that accompany each module, employees will begin to experience a sense of security in the workplace that will invite openness and honesty and respect, which are essential when challenges or obstacles might arise.

Team Alignment

When whole teams are oriented to a common purpose and intention it can become a catalyst for higher workplace performances because everyone is aware of ‘who is doing what and why’.  Therefore, ensuring whole-system working with all the teams in an organisation, regardless of whether they have direct interactions with each other, is imperative.  By introducing The 5 x 5 Model to every team in an organisation, whether that is all teams at once or slowly over time, employees throughout the organisation will begin to establish a common way of working, thinking and acting that is directly aligned to the intentionally designed and preferred organisational culture that has been identified.  Team alignment is as much about coordination, collaboration and communication as it is about finding out ‘who’ your colleagues are and ‘what’ your team identity is.  By developing clarity around these ideas, teams will begin to develop a stronger sense of belonging that will increase commitment and engagement and make the workplace a happier and more productive place to be. 

Defined Structure, Roles & Responsibilities

Organisations are comprised of multiple individuals who are all, theoretically, working together to achieve their goals, but often there can be complex team dynamics and processes that limit collaboration and goal attainment.  All organisations will be ordered by some form of hierarchy which will denote power, influence and authority across the wider system and within this hierarchy there will be distinct roles and responsibilities that are held by colleagues.  Despite the certainty that an organisation has a structure and with it, complex organisational dynamics, it is not unusual for colleagues in teams to be unaware of which type of team structure is best for achieving their goals and expectations. This domain of the 5 x 5 Model focuses on how to make team structure work best whilst establishing accountability so that all colleagues and employees are aware of the roles and responsibilities that exist within the organisation.  Being oriented to ‘who does what’ can help organisations cut down on inefficient working practices that may be replicating work or which may not be making the most out of the workforce. 

Goal Setting

It can be argued that wherever you work there will be key performance indicators (KPIs) that your team or service are tasked with delivering.  If employees are not focused on, or even aware of these KPIs, the whole team and possibly the organisation can begin to experience operational drift which can significantly compromise the delivery of the service. To counteract this, The 5 x 5 Model supports teams to identify their goals and objectives and provides a methodology they can work through so they progress through key tasks and milestones.  As teams and organisations become more aligned to a common purpose and vision together they will be better able to communicate and report back progress across multiple teams which will help establish situational awareness and how the organisation is performing against expected objectives and outcomes. 

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