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Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty Hardcover – February 2, 2010

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Editorial Reviews Review

Written in the same dynamic style as his previous bestsellers including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni illustrates the principles of inspiring client loyalty through a fascinating business fable. He explains the theory of vulnerability in depth and presents concrete steps for putting it to work in any organization. The story follows a small consulting firm, Lighthouse Partners, which often beats out big-name competitors for top clients. One such competitor buys out Lighthouse and learns important lessons about what it means to provide value to its clients.

Amazon Exclusive: Q&A with Patrick Lencioni

Q: Why do you use the term naked and where does it come from?
A: Naked consulting is a term that refers to the idea of being vulnerable with clients, being completely open and honest with no sense of pretense or cover. The concept comes from the approach that we adopted more than a decade ago to work with our clients at The Table Group. We help CEOs and their teams build healthy organizations, and we found that by being completely transparent and vulnerable with clients, we built levels of trust and loyalty that blew us away.

Q: What makes naked service different from the way most people provide service?
A: So many service providers and consultants feel the need to demonstrate that they have the right answers and that they don’t make mistakes. Not only do clients see this as inauthentic, they often feel that they are being condescended to and manipulated. We’ve found that what clients really want is honesty and humility.

Q: What are the three fears?
A: People spend most of their lives trying to avoid awkward and painful situations –which is why it is no surprise that we are all susceptible to the three fears that sabotage client loyalty. They include:

1) Fear of Losing the Business – No service provider wants to lose clients or revenue. Interestingly, it is this very notion that prevents many service providers from having the difficult conversations that actually build greater loyalty and trust. Clients want to know that their service providers are more interested in helping succeed in business than protecting their revenue source.

2) Fear of Being Embarrassed – This fear is rooted in pride. No one likes to publicly make mistakes, endure scrutiny or be embarrassed. Naked service providers are willing to ask questions and make suggestions even if those questions and suggestions turn out to be laughably wrong. Clients trust naked service providers because they know that they will not hold back their ideas, hide their mistakes, or edit themselves to save face.

3) Fear of Being Inferior – Similar to the previous fear, this one is rooted in ego. Fear of being inferior is not about being intellectually wrong (as in Fear of being Embarrassed) it is about preserving social standing with the client. Naked service providers are able to overcome the need to feel important in the eyes of their client and basically do whatever a client needs to help the client improve – even if that calls for the service provider to be overlooked or temporarily looked down upon.

Q: What is the impact of naked service on a firm’s bottom line?
A: Consulting or service firms that practice the naked approach will find it easier to retain clients through greater trust and loyalty. That is the first and most obvious benefit. But they’ll also be able to attract clients better because naked service begins before a client actually becomes a client. It allows firms to be more open, more generous and less desperate in the sales process, and creates great differentiation from more traditional sales approaches. Finally, firms that practice the naked approach will attract and retain the right kind of consultants and professionals who yearn for an honest, natural way of working, both with clients and with one another.

From Publishers Weekly

Author, speaker and management consultant Lencioni (The Three Signs of a Miserable Job) preaches a business model that may seem antithetical to many, which he calls "getting naked": being unafraid to show vulnerability, admit ignorance, and ask the dumb questions when dealing with clients. Lencioni's central argument is that by focusing on sales, rather than communication, consultants miss the key part of their job-consulting-and therefore lose out on valuable long-term client relationships. Presented mostly as a parable about a management consultant trying to reconcile two firms in a merger, Lencioni's latest is entertaining as well as informative, with a message that sticks (heavy-handed though it may be). Straightforward and widely applicable, Lencioni's advice should prove useful not only for business consultants, but anyone trying to build long-term client relationships. END

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787976393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787976392
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Patrick Lencioni is founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to helping leaders improve their organizations' health since 1997. His principles have been embraced by leaders around the world and adopted by organizations of virtually every kind including multinational corporations, entrepreneurial ventures, professional sports teams, the military, nonprofits, schools, and churches.

Lencioni is the author of ten business books with over three million copies sold worldwide. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek, and USA Today.

Prior to founding The Table Group, Lencioni served on the executive team at Sybase, Inc. He started his career at Bain & Company and later worked at Oracle Corporation.

Lencioni lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and their four sons.

To learn more about Patrick and The Table Group, please visit

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Loarie VINE VOICE on February 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Best selling author Pat Lencioni's "Getting Naked" really resonated with me and will with many others. Again, Lencioni has nailed a very simple concept which eludes most of us when building relationships in business and, more importantly, in all aspects of life. While the book was targeted to the business of consulting, the principles outlined are universal and can be applied to many other aspects of living a "meaningful" life. Lencioni himself, at the end of the book, notes the model outlined in the book "applies to anyone whose success is tied to building loyal and sticky relationships with the people they serve"...just about all of us!

"Getting Naked" stems from Lencioni's personal experience in the world of consulting. He has applied the "Getting Naked model" unconsciously for years and has found his clients treating him more like a real partner and team member rather than as a vendor or outsider." As is usual, Lencioni shares the "Naked Service" model through a fable. In it, he outlines the need to:
1. Let go of the fear of losing (business)
2. Let go of the fear of being embarrassed
3. Let go of the fear of feeling inferior

And by shedding these fears, we can:
1. Always provide immediate value to those we serve rather than sell ourselves
2. Give away ourselves (the business) without holding back for something else first (fees)
3. Tell the "kind" truth and not sugar coat the obvious
4. Enter the danger, our zone of discomfort, rather than avoid it
5. Ask the dumb (the right) question that no one else ever asks
6. Make dumb suggestions that stimulates thinking rather than suggest the obvious
7. Celebrate our mistakes, our failures, as these are key learnings for growth
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sir Riley McMuscle on June 5, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can't say enough good things about this book! A couple of years ago my business attorney suggested I read this book to "pass the time" on my flight back home from a meeting. I was so enthralled with this book I read it from cover to cover in 3.5 hours and to this day I still refer to it.

Without spoiling any of the story-line, here's the main moral of the narrative: cut the BS!

I feel like everyone living with me here in Los Angeles should read this! So many people here walk around with the "do you know who I think I am" attitude. This book reminded me that when it comes to business, people want to work with people who can get the job done. Period. Strip away the technology, the pomp and circumstance of appearing to be a "big fish in a small pond" and just show up "naked." If you really are worth your weight in salt, you'll get the job or the client because you can do the job better than anyone else.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John W. Pearson VINE VOICE on March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jim Collins wrote an insightful foreword to the latest edition of Peter Drucker's 608-page classic, Management Rev Ed. Collins said, "There are two ways to change the world: the pen (the use of ideas) and the sword (the use of power). Peter Drucker chose the pen, and thereby rewired the brains of thousands who carry the sword--and contributed as much to the triumph of the free world as any other individual."

Another world changer with a potent pen is Patrick Lencioni. He too rewires our brains and, fortunately, does it by telling stories that don't run 600 pages. This book is his latest gift to leaders and managers.

Caution! Lest you think this book doesn't relate to you, think again. In classic Lencioni story-telling style, this very, very humorous fable convicts, gives hope, challenges and offers memorable teachable moment stories. (Yes...I read the most poignant and funniest ones to my wife.)

So what's with the "naked" part? Lencioni explains (after telling the story), "At its core, naked service boils down to the ability of a service provider to be vulnerable--to embrace uncommon levels of humility, selflessness, and transparency for the good of a client."

He adds, "As obvious as that may sound, it is more difficult than it seems, because humility and selflessness and transparency often entail suffering. And suffering is not something most human beings, especially in our modern culture, understand or welcome."

So what's funny about that? Nothing. But read the book in a setting (you can do it in one sitting) where you can laugh out loud, because you will.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Matthew W. Certo on February 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've read all of Patrick Lencioni's books and have generally enjoyed them. I also heard him speak once at a conference on team dysfunction and found his style and approach to be both engaging and entertaining. As such, I didn't hesitate to pick up this book when I saw it--despite its unconventional title.

Lencioni uses his usual style of writing: putting a concept into the form of a fable. Even though this approach is a bit different that other business titles I'm used to reading, it's unique and Lencioni is able to execute it well. The writing style and voice hit close to home for those that lead or manage others. While sometimes the fable approach can get a bit lengthy, I do find that it allows the author to do his job well. Most specifically, it enables him to draw important contrasts between the conventional (how most people do things) and his approach (a prescribed way of doing things).

The fable contrasts two different consulting firms that are in the process of merging. One firm is the large, international firm located in the city skyline. The other is a small boutique firm located in a re-purposed building where people dress casually and don't work late. It's a cliche disparity that we can all get our minds around. While we expect the big firm to come in and straighten up the little one, Lencioni teaches us some very important things along the way. Perception is not always reality as we learn that the larger firm might learn a thing or two from the smaller one.

Lencioni reminds us that bigger is not always better and that acquiring and retaining clients is not a matter of Power Point slides and glossy marketing materials as much is it is about relationships and authenticity.
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