Book thoughts – The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni

I’m always conflicted when I read Patrick Lencioni. Some of what he says is brilliant, but there’s always a lot of fluff and common sense rhetoric that makes me not want to keep reading. This book is no exception.

Unlike The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, which is told in a more narrative style, this book is a more typical business book – introduce the model, spend a long chapter focused on each piece of the model, and then conclude, with scattered case studies along the way.

Lencioni has 4 keys to organizational health: Build a Cohesive Leadership Team, Create Clarity, Overcommunicate Clarity, and Reinforce Clarity.

If you’ve read Good to Great, you’ve already heard some of these – the first two sound a lot like “First Who, Than What” and “Hedgehog Concept”. The last one sounds a lot like “Culture of Discipline” mixed with “The Flywheel”.

The third key, Overcommunicate Clarity, is the simplest, but makes the most sense. Working at a company with a “Communication is Oxygen” motto, I’ve heard this concept a lot. It makes sense. You can’t thrive unless everyone is on the same page – synergy (in the Stephen Covey sense) isn’t possible unless everyone knows what to do towards the big goals.

Big takeaways from this book:

  • Have only one big thematic goal for the company – most companies have too many goals
  • “Great leaders see themselves as Chief Reminding Officers as much as anything else” (p.143)
  • “I like to explain to clients that when leaders fail to tell employees that they’re doing a great job, they might as well be taking money out of their pockets and throwing it into a fire” (p.167)