The Best of Patrick Lencioni

Published on
October 20, 2015
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For the last few decades, Patrick Lencioni has been on a crusade to help revolutionize teams. Anticipating the changes of the 21st century workplace, Lencioni’s ten books have sold more than four million copies worldwide. The following are some of our top takeaways from this prolific author.

  1. Rehabilitating the dysfunctional team
    The Five Dysfunctions of a Team has become a classic, and for good reason. “Counter to conventional wisdom, the causes of dysfunction are both identifiable and curable,” writes Lencioni. “However, they don’t die easily. Making a team functional and cohesive requires levels of courage and discipline that many groups cannot seem to muster.” The five dysfunctions are: #1: Absence of Trust — “The fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents the building of trust within the team”; #2: Fear of Conflict — “The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive ideological conflict”; #3: Lack of Commitment — “The lack of clarity or buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to”; #4: Avoidance of Accountability — “The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding one another accountable”; and #5: Inattention to Results — “The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective success.” Read our summary for two great takeaways to make your team more functional.
  2. Making meetings suck less
    “The biggest problem with our meetings, and meetings in general, is structure,” writes Lencioni. And his next point may surprise you. “Our problem is not that we’re having too many meetings. Our problem is that we’re having too few of them.” So, how many meetings should we be having? According to Lencioni, four. They are: 1) The daily check in, 2) The weekly tactical, 3) The monthly strategic, and 4) The monthly retreat. To learn more about these four types of meetings, check out insight #2 of our Death by Meeting summary.
  3. The Thematic Goal
    Ask yourselves, as a team, the following question: “If we accomplish only one thing during the next x months, what would it be?” As we outlined in our summary of Lencioni’s latest book The Advantage, clarifying a Thematic Goal is important for several reasons: “(a) it provides a crystal clear objective for everyone on the team, (b) it gives people a sense of purpose in their work, driving productivity and workplace enjoyment, and (c) it naturally requires prioritization and focus, avoiding unnecessary busy work.”
  4. The Value of Vulnerability
    With book Getting Naked, Patrick Lencioni was on a crusade to encourage us to become more vulnerable in front of our customers. In the book he outlines the three most common fears that prevent us from doing so: 1) Fear of losing the business, 2) Fear of being embarrassed, and 3) Fear of feeling inferior. “While all understandable, living within these three fears all but ensures that your relationships with your customers will never transcend a basic transaction.” How can we elevate our relationships with our customers from a transactional relationship to a trusted advisor? One tip to achieve this transcendent relationship is to stop being a yes-man or a yes-woman and start giving your honest opinion when it’s asked for. (Patrick also joined us on our video author interview series after the publication of Getting Naked to discuss the topic of vulnerability.)

What’s your favourite takeaway from a Patrick Lencioni book? Tell us in the comments!