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200 of 213 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! Another VERY helful and applicable management book!
By dedicating 90% of his book to a so-called leadership fable, Patrick Lencioni very effectively conveys the very essence of the model he proposes in order to deal with dysfunctional teams. Though the story he presents is that of a hypothetical newly appointed CEO of a distressed start-up and (in the beginning of the story) her highly dysfunctional executive team, the...
Published on October 22, 2003 by Manny Hernandez

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97 of 116 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather simplistic view of complex phenomena...
While there is nothing wrong with the material presented, one cannot believe this is all there is to it.

Making Teams work involves a considerable investment of time and energy, and also depends on the circumstances. Under pressure of an immediate threat - even adversaries can band together into a tight cohesive team. When such threats are gone - they fall...
Published on August 7, 2006 by Rai Chowdhary


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200 of 213 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! Another VERY helful and applicable management book!, October 22, 2003
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This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
By dedicating 90% of his book to a so-called leadership fable, Patrick Lencioni very effectively conveys the very essence of the model he proposes in order to deal with dysfunctional teams. Though the story he presents is that of a hypothetical newly appointed CEO of a distressed start-up and (in the beginning of the story) her highly dysfunctional executive team, the model is perfectly applicable to any team throughout most organizations.
The model consists of a pyramid with the five dysfunctions of a team (from the bottom, up):
1) Absence of trust: stemming from an unwillingness in the team members to be vulnerable and genuinely open up with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses.
2) Fear of conflict: inability to engage in unfiltered, passionate (yet constructive, though it may strike you as odd) debate.
3) Lack of commitment: no buy in and commitment can be expected when ideas and opinions have not been aired and genuinely taken into consideration prior to a decision.
4) Avoidance of accountability: without commitment to a clearly defined set of goals, team members will hesitate to call their colleagues on their actions and behaviors that are counterproductive for the team.
5) Inattention to results: Lencioni brings it all home through the realization that avoidance of accountability leads to a state where team members tend to put their individual needs above the team's collective goals.
Throughout the last leg of his book, Lencioni contrasts how dysfunctional teams behave by comparing them to a cohesive team in the case of each of the five dysfunctions. He also provides suggestions on overcoming each of the dysfunctions and insights into the role of the leader in this process, all in a very structured and to-the-point way. Complementing this, he provides a Team Assessment tool to help determine where your team is at in terms of each of the five elements of the model.
As much as the book can be digested without too much trouble in 2-3 straight hours, it is inevitable (unless you are fooling yourself or you operate in a very healthy team) to have your managerial wheels in your mind turning at full speed by the time you are done with it. As a manager and an avid reader, I welcomed this book with open arms because I found it to be very useful and readily applicable. Now comes my challenge in putting it to use.
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280 of 311 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chief Innovation Officer, SmartLeadership.com, April 11, 2002
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
This book is helpful to anyone who serves on a team and specifically helpful for team leaders. You will see yourself and your team in this book. More than that, you will find specific steps you can take to make your team better. Through a real life fable, Pat leads you through the steps you need to take to move a team from dysfunction to health. You will find a clear model as well as examples that are as relevant as your last meeting.
As I read this book I discovered:
1. A vocabulary I can use with my team to discuss dysfunction.
2. A self-analysis that will get the discussion started.
3. A clear model for implementation.
As a team leader, this book challenged me to:
1) Lead selflessly
2) Take risks
3) Encourage conflict
4) Embrace the power of meetings
4) Direct my team around a common theme
This book is simple, practical and filled with wisdom. Highly recommended.
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147 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very practical and insightful!, December 26, 2002
By 
Walter Reade (Appleton, WI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
This is a genuinely significant book for anyone who works in a team environment, whether at work, in sports, in the community, at home, etc. Of all the business books I have read on team building, "Five Dysfunctions" stands at the top of the pack. The strength of this book lies in the fact that it gets at the ROOTS of team failure. Anyone who has been forced to go through corporate "team building" sessions and sing with their fellow co-workers knows that it is an approach that doesn't work! The principles presented in "Five Dysfunctions" are solid and will get results.
The organization of "Five Dysfunctions" is as follows. The bulk of the book comprises of an extended fictitious example of a dysfunctional group, and slowly works through the underlying principles. These principles are then succinctly presented in the last few pages of the book, along with further analysis and suggestions on implementation. This organization allows the principles to slowly sink in through the book, but then gives the reader a very focused section the use for later reference and review.
A great strength of the book is that it avoids the all-too-frequent tendency of creating tension and then resolving it more quickly than would happen in real life. Reading the story gives you a sense of the effort needed to work through the dysfunctions of a team. The tools are presented to the reader, but without the illusion of a quick fix. Rather, "Five Dysfunctions" gives a simple message that inspires, energizes, and creates a vision of hope for how thing could be in a team.
One "a-ha" experience I had while reading this book is that some of the teams I have been on - teams where we all got along just fine - shared at least some of the five dysfunctions which made them less than effective. While these teams were quite accomplished at the superficial types of team building activities that are so popular, we avoided the core issues that Lencioni discusses in his book.
This book is one that I will review often, and recommend to anyone.
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97 of 116 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather simplistic view of complex phenomena..., August 7, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
While there is nothing wrong with the material presented, one cannot believe this is all there is to it.

Making Teams work involves a considerable investment of time and energy, and also depends on the circumstances. Under pressure of an immediate threat - even adversaries can band together into a tight cohesive team. When such threats are gone - they fall back to natural behaviors, and dysfunction can set it.

The 5 dysfunctions - Absence of Trust, Fear of Conflict, Lack of Commitment, Avoidance of Accountability, and Inattention to Results - these are only the basics.

There are other important factors that make teams function or dysfunction, 3 of which are:

Common and time bound goals
Mutual respect
Skill sets to get the job done
...

Enjoy the book - it is an easy read, but keep in mind there is more to making teams work effectively!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good framework for ensuring you have a healthy work environment, December 27, 2006
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
I found this book to be Patrick's best - An easy read with a great structure for keeping your team healthy. Strongly recommended if your team has more then its fair share of politics. If you have this, start at the first dysfunction and work your way up!

Summary - A start up has just hired a new CEO, an older woman with operational experience in bricks-and-mortar companies where she had to deal with a dysfunctional team, including one especially venomous worker.

The framework of the 5 Dysfunctions:

* The first dysfunction is an Absence of Trust. This happens when team members are not open with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses.
* This sets the tone for the second dysfunction - The Fear of Conflict. Teams that lack trust are unable to engage in unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas. Instead they resort to veiled discussions and guarded comments.
* The lack of healthy conflict is a problem because leads to the third dysfunction - Lack of Commitment. Without having aired their opinions in the course of passionate and open debate, team members, rarely, if ever buy in and commit to decisions, though they may feign agreement during meetings.
* Because of this lack of commitment, team members develop the fourth dysfunction - Avoidance of Accountability. Without committing to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven people often hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counterproductive to the good of the team.
* Failure to hold one another accountable create an environment that leads to the fifth dysfunction - Inattention to Results, which can thrive where individuals put their needs (ego, career development, or recognition) above that of the team.

Some additional nice bits from the book:

* Trust lies at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team. Without it, teamwork is impossible.
* Trust is the confidence among team members that their peers intentions are good, and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group.
* Teams that lack trust spend inordinate amounts of time and energy managing their behavior and interactions within the group.
* Members of teams with an absence of trust: Conceal their weaknesses and mistakes from one another, Hesitate to ask for help or provide constructive feedback, Hesitate to offer help outside their own areas of responsibility, Jump to conclusions about the intentions and aptitudes of others, without trying to clarify them, Fail to recognize and tap into one another's skills and experiences, Waste time and energy managing their behaviors for effect, Hold grudges, and Dread meetings and spend time to avoid spending time together
* Vulnerability based trust cannot happen overnight. It requires shared experiences over time, multiple instances of follow-through and credibility, and an in-depth understanding of the unique attributes of team members.
* Leader must risk losing face and being vulnerable in front of the team so that the team can do likewise.
* It's ironic that so many people avoid conflict in the name of efficiency when healthy conflict saves so much time compared to back-channel attacks and maneuvering.
* Teams that fear conflict: Have boring meetings, Create environments where back-channel politics thrive, Ignore controversial topics that are critical to the team success, and Fail to tap into all the opinions and perspectives of team members
* Monuments of truth are best handled by face-to-face, not email.
* Big issue "a fractured team is like a fractured bone; fixing it is always painful and sometimes you have to re-break it to heal it fully. And the re-break always hurts more because it is intentional"
* "it is very possible that some of us here won't find the new company to be the kind of place where we want to be"
* 2 rules of a meeting: be present and participate.
* Questions to know people better: Hometown. Number of kids. Childhood hobbies. Biggest challenge in growing up, first job, etc.
* Politics is when people choose their words and actions based on how they want others to react rather than based on what they really think.
* No trust = No Open Conversation = Artificial Harmony.
* If people don't unload, they won't get on board.
* Listen, Assess, then DO!
* Disagree and Commit!
* Every great movie (meeting) has conflict.
* You will fight - about issues. But that is your job.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful. Relevant. Discerning. Valuable., June 25, 2006
By 
Jeffrey E Ellis (Naperville, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
We see ourselves, at arm's length, in "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team". Safely in someone else's story, we get a glimpse of our own team; sometimes all too close for comfort.

Once again, Lencioni uses the modern fable to make his points. In a very effective way, he diagnoses symptoms of teams in trouble:

1. Absence of Trust

2. Fear of Conflict

3. Lack of Commitment

4. Avoidance of Accountability

5. Inattention to Results

These are flaws of malfunctioning teams and are brought to life in a "leadership fable" which tells the tale using Kathryn Petersen, new CEO of DecisionTech.

One of the things I found interesting is that if Lencioni is correct, the inverse of his hypothesis should also be true. Well-functioning, healthy teams should be built upon the opposite traits: Trust, Candor, Commitment, Accountability, and Results. Perhaps building those traits will be the subject of one of his next insightful books.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help for Dysfunctional Teams, December 3, 2002
By 
Susan Ecker (Greensburg, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
Patrick Lencioni has written an exceptionally interesting fable on optimal team performance. He has prescribed guidelines for team success and applied them in an interesting, easy to read story with a twist. He has defined easy to follow principles that with practice can lead any group or team, large or small to be great.
The book begins with a story of a potentially great company with a dysfunctional executive staff. Even though this company assembled some of the best executives and attracted top tier investors (compared to their closest competitors), the company was on a downslide. Morale was slipping and key employees were leaving. The CEO (and co-founder) was relieved of his title by the board and the search for his successor began.
This company, Decision Tech, was a high profile, two years old company with much at stake. The chairman of the board pushed for hiring Kathryn, an ancient fifty-seven years old by Silicon Valley standards. Employees and the executive staff were stunned with the news of the new hire.
The story develops by weaving Lencioni's team dysfunctions into its web. The fable is enticing and not typical of your "how to produce" guidelines book. The author keeps your interest while at the same time introducing and teaching his methods.
At the end of the story, Mr. Lencioni reviews all levels of team dysfunctions and summarizes and reiterates each. Therefore reinforcing his principles and eliminating confusion.
This is the first book I have read by this author. I found it entertaining, yet very informative. I enjoyed the novel format while receiving important informational steps for success in a team or group.
I would highly recommend this book to any person or group seeking to improve or turn around the team in which they belong. It would be a great tool for corporate teams or even the local high school basketball team. All teams would greatly benefit from Mr. Lencioni's advice.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is No Better Book About Managing Teams, June 13, 2002
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This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
I have to admit that I had somewhat limited expectations for this book. I was worried that this book would simply be a re-hash of the same material written in the first two books by this author. So often, it seems that the creator of a very successful and revolutionary paradigm (and Pat Lencioni's first books were certainly both of those) will put out a whole series of books that explain the same concept with a slightly different spin. Fortunately, that isn't the case here - - This is one of the most powerful business books I've ever read.
While the themes in this book are very consistent with the author's first book, the approach is completely different. The first book forced me to constantly look inward and ask myself what I could be doing better as a CEO. This book was much more team oriented, helping me to guide everyone of my direct reports in how they could be better managers and how we can function more cohesively as a team. I can't say enough about how eye opening the book was in terms of my ability to instantly improve the effectiveness of my entire team. I'm going to give this book to everyone on my team and plan to have a group discussion of what each of us learned from the book.
The book is a VERY quick read (probably an hour cover to cover) and will make a thoughtful manager completely re-think whether his or her team is optimally managed. The book allows you to quickly diagnose the area where your team has weakness and almost instantly chart a well defined course for a much more productive team.
I sincerely believe I'm a much better manager after reading this book and my approach to guiding my team is much more enlightened. For those with the courage to truly examine the way they manage and the commitment to seek out a better way, you won't find a better investment of 60 minutes of your time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Practical and applicable, January 26, 2008
By 
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
The Five Dysfunctions is the product of long-term work on teams distilled into a few key bullet points and then expanded again into the fictional story of a team that fell into dysfunction and then recuperated.

The five issues, which are the real take-away from the book, are Absence of Trust (manifested as invulnerability), Fear of Conflict (manifested as artificial harmony), Lack of Commitment (manifested as ambiguity), Avoidance of Accountability (manifested as low standards), and Inattention to Results (manifested as a pursuit of status and ego) (p. 97). These five build upon each other like a pyramid, in that order.

The fictional account of a team discovering and discussing these issues takes up the first 185 pages. Lencioni then, in 40 pages, summarizes them all in the form of what is probably lecture notes, along with practical tips to what a leader and the team must do to address and fix the dysfunctions. For the time it takes, those 40 pages say the same if not more than the story, and are worth the read without the narrative. However, the narrative is of course more entertaining.

Pragmatically, Lencioni has tapped into the behavior patterns that really are the bane of every manager's existence. And while every manager can probably see them intuitively, most of us haven't taken the time to name them and articulate the issues and solutions. So for that, Lencioni has done what a lot of good leadership books do: opened our eyes to the obvious thing that was right in front of us all along. For that, it's a worthwhile read, but again, the shorter second section will suffice for reading the book.

James W. Miller is the author of God Scent
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but there is more than the Five Dysfunctions, August 24, 2003
By 
Richard Andreini (Sunnyvale, California USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
Although I really liked the focus by Lencioni on trust and conflict, I felt that too much emphasis was placed on explaining in detail trust issues and using conflict creatively and not enough on examples and concrete advice on several ways to create trust and encourage creative conflict. In other words, I would have liked less on definitions and more on solutions. Ultimately teams will also suceed or fail based on the composition of the team and their personalities and how they interact. Communication skills, listening, learning styles, clarity are needed by team members. It is possible that the players are the wrong players and how do we know which ones and what and how strong their dysfuctions are? The Myers-Briggs is a start, but with the wrong players the team skill sets and training don't work (there are 3 or 4 great tests that will help build team). I wish he had spent more time on those issues. The last few pages of the book are very powerful and Lencioni demonstrates a wonderful grasp of ways to fix teams. The exceptional storybook style and then the more common business book style give all types of readers a way to relate to his message. We are a nation of story tellers and Lencioni tells a very compelling story; as a matter of fact, United States uses storytelling as a way of illustrating points more than any nation in the world!
In business we continually experience the issue of "lack of creative conflict" and I feel it is a bigger problem than any of the other 4, because we do not like to rock the boat. Lencioni does an exceptional job in strongly making that case and illustrating it well.
One of the most powerful things that Lencioni pointed out was that teams must be loyal to the team and not undermine team loyalty...we do this by placing the needs of our department or division ahead of the teams! Teams need to really believe that they have a common fate and not just a common goal! This was the most powerful book I have read on team dysfunctions. I liked it so much that I reviewed it in my monthly newsletter. It captures the essence of why teams fail and presents it in a clear and entertaining style.
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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni (Hardcover - April 11, 2002)
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