Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, by Patrick Lencioni

This is a fast read—about 200 pages but a small size, large font, and vacuous phrasing. The simplicity is a good indication of the ideas contained within however; Lencioni’s approach to what makes an effective team is remarkably simple too. In order, a team needs trust, healthy debate, commitment, accountability, and rewarding results. You can’t skip any of these phases along the way; e.g., without trust it isn’t possible to have unfiltered discussions. Simple and obvious, like many of the popular business theories today. Unlike some popular theories though, these have the ring of truth.

This is a fable book, like The Goal or Virtual Leadership. The story in Five Dysfunctions was clumsy and contrived, but the points it tries to make come across well. It was hard to see how some of these techniques would work in the real world where people have multiple motivations and are more complex than cartoon characters, but the assessment template and discussions that close the book seem very useful. Despite the mixed review this is well worth your time, but make sure this isn’t the only book you take on an airplane!

First Sentence:
DecisionTech was located in Half Moon Bay, a foggy, coastal farming town just over the hills from San Francisco Bay.

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