Author: Patrick Lencioni
Reviewer: Bob Moore
The Advantage is based on the premise that organizational health will one day surpass all other disciplines in business as the greatest opportunity for improvement and competitive advantage. Lencioni makes the case that there is no better way to achieve profound improvement in an organization than by attacking the root causes of dysfunction, politics, and confusion.
Lencioni makes a case that organizational health is the single greatest advantage any company can achieve. Yet, it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free and available to anyone who wants it. As an organizational transformation specialist, I question the notion that organizational health is “free” which you will discover as Lencioni reveals the Four Disciplines required to achieve it.
But first, I will comment on the concept of organizational health which is quoted in the first paragraph. Lencioni believes that at its core, organizational health is about integrity, but not in the ethical or moral way it is typically defined. As a health-oriented term, an organization has integrity—is healthy—when it is whole, consistent and complete. Since I take a diagnostic approach to personal and organizational transformation, I strongly endorse Lencioni’s concepts.
Smart versus Healthy
I frequently hear business leaders talk about hiring the best and brightest. This alone is not sufficient to assure high performance. But, that is another story for another day. The culture into which these bright people are developed it the primary issue here. Instead of trying to become smarter, Lencioni asserts that leaders and organizations need to shift their focus to becoming healthier. Smart relates to the “decision sciences” like strategy, marketing, finance and technology and is only part of the equation. The other part includes attention to minimizing politics and confusion, raising morale and productivity and reducing turnover among good employees. Most organizations engage only a fraction of the knowledge, experience and intellectual capital that is available to them. Organization health is required to fully utilize capacity to accelerate program.
The Four Disciplines
Here are the Four Discipline Lencioni addresses in The Advantage:
1. Build a Cohesive Leadership Team—Unless an organization is led by a behaviorally unified team, it will not become healthy.
2. Create Clarity—Healthy organizations are aligned and create so much clarity there is little room for possible confusion, disorder and infighting to set in. This requires answers to six critical questions, for which the leadership team is responsible.
3. Overcommunicate Clarity—The leadership team must communicate the answers to the six critical questions over and over, as much as seven times or whatever it takes to be sure everyone gets it. Great leaders are Chief Reminding Officers.
4. Reinforce Clarity—Every human system in the organization, involving people from hiring and people management to training and compensation, must reinforce the answers to the six questions.
The Six Critical Questions
Since you are probably wondering about them, here are the six critical questions which I encourage you to dig into deeper in the book:
- Why do we exist?
- How do we behave?
- What do we do?
- How will we succeed?
- What is most important, right now?
- Who must do what?
Based on the first discipline: Building a Cohesive Leadership Team, I recommend you diagnose the “health” of your team.
Click on the following link to view a short 2 ½ minute video featuring Patrick Lencioni discussing teamwork and the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team. Click Here To Learn About How to Build a Higher Performing Cohesive Team.
About The Author
Patrick Lencioni is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, consultant and founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to helping organizations become healthy. Lencioni’s ideas around leadership, teamwork and employee engagement have impacted organizations around the globe. He is best known as the author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, a popular business fable that explores work team dynamics and offers solutions to help teams perform better. In addition to Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The Advantage, he has written six other business books which have sold nearly three million copies worldwide.
About the Reviewer
Bob Moore, CMC, The Effectiveness Coach,
is a Certified Management Consultant,
CEO of Effectiveness, Inc,
Managing Principal of the Talent Management Institute,
and publisher of From the Desk of Bob Moore.
Bob is also the publisher of a weekly blog series and articles which you can access by clicking on the link below.