The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business

Posted August 1, 2012 in Self-Insight, What We're Reading

advantagemodelBy: Patrick Lencioni

Reviewed by: Glain Roberts-McCabe

The Premise: Patrick Lencioni is the author of a variety of best selling business fable type books (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, The Five Temptations of a CEO etc.). The Advantage is a departure from the storybook style and, instead, brings in many of Lencioni’s consulting team’s experience working with a variety of leaders across a variety of industries. The book is a manifesto on the opportunities that present themselves when leaders focus on minimizing dysfunction, politics and confusion in their organizations vs. rewriting their strategic plans. The book walks through the business case for focusing on organizational health and then provides a 4 discipline model to build it: create a cohesive leadership team; create clarity; over communicate clarity and reinforce clarity. He throws in a chapter on how to make meetings work and provides checklists and resources to help you get started. The book taps into models and ideas from several of his previous books and, like those books, is written in an easy to read style that works.

The Bottom Line: I like Patrick Lencioni’s writing style and I like the simplicity of his ideas. Frankly, there isn’t that much that’s “new” in The Advantage, but it’s more or less a compendium of what leaders need to do to get teams aligned and productive. If you’re the kind of smarty pants leader not convinced that the “fuzzy stuff” like values and vision statements matter, then you should probably read this book. There are lots of great examples throughout of where organizational “EQ” trumps organizational “IQ”. And yet, when a business is hitting rough spots, everyone turns to the “hard” stuff – marketing plans, sales plans, operating costs – vs. looking at how engaged and productive the employee team is in the first place. As leaders, we tend to go to these areas (finance, marketing, sales, ops) because they are “easy” and “safe”. Building organizational health is messy and difficult and takes continual effort and (as Lencioni outlines in his model) repetitive reinforcement. If you’re looking for a simple roadmap of what you can do to reduce politics, confusion and involuntary turnover and up morale and productivity, this is a great book to start with and one that you’ll likely look at again and again. (You may also want to consider leaving a copy on your CEO’s desk too, since much of this really needs to get driven from the top.)

Roundtable Rating: Great read and recommended for leaders looking to get a clear and easy road map to building more successful teams and organizations.

Check out the book and learn more.

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