The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Pat Lencioni
, Jossey Bass Publishers, 220 Pages, $22.00 Hardcover, March 2002, ISBN 0787960756
Pat Lencioni is the president of a management consulting company in San Francisco and has written two very successful books on leadership. Lencioni excels at using the business fable, a genre I expect can be traced back to Eli Goldratt and The Goal. I have read (or attempted to read) many business fables that have a composite CEO trying to turn around a metaphorical company. One of the biggest problems I sometimes have with this genre is that the author is too distracted by the moral of the story to concentrate on actually telling a good story and creating memorable characters. The characters in this book ring true, are completely recognizable, and fully-realized. The book itself is well-written, and, I believe,ranks with the best of the genre.
It is the story of a person hired by the board of directors to come in and fix a young company. The crux of the companys problem is well-articulated in this passage spoken by the new CEO:
We have a more experienced and talented executive team than any of our competitors. We have more cash than they do. We have better core technology. And we have a more powerful board of directors. Yet in spite of all that, we are behind two of our competitors in terms of revenue and customer growth. How can we fix that?
The answer? Teamwork. And the book uses a great tool, The Model, to show how this transformation is accomplished. To support the fables lessons, Lencioni uses a section for an overview of the model, another for a team assessment, and one that deals with understanding and overcoming five dysfunctions of a problem company. This book works for the CEO, the supervisor, or the small businessperson. We all need knowledge on building and using teams.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.