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The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable [Hardcover]

Patrick Lencioni
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Allegories and parables have long been effective ways to impart serious bits of knowledge and wisdom without getting too pedantic, and business readers seem increasingly receptive to sensible management theory that employs this lively age-old literary technique. Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, a "leadership fable" by Patrick Lencioni, continues the trend with a solid prescription for organizational health--aiming for less politics, lower turnover, more productivity, and higher morale. Presented as a fictional tale of two technical consultants and their competing companies, the story is structured in a fashion that recalls his previous book (The Five Temptations of a CEO, whose main character and firm are even slipped into this narrative). Lencioni uses this hypothetical setting to show how his concepts might look and work in the real world. In this case, his "four disciplines at the heart of making any organization world class" are revealed and explained through the philosophy and behavior of Rich O'Connor of Telegraph Partners. Build and maintain a cohesive leadership team, create organizational clarity, communicate organizational clarity, and reinforce organizational clarity through human systems. Through his tale of Telegraph and its rival Greenwich Consulting, Lencioni illustrates how these principles can be beneficially employed--and how an organization can be stymied when they're missing. The story moves quickly and is followed by a comprehensive analytical summary, which includes self-assessment tools and suggestions for putting the ideas into practice. --Howard Rothman

From Booklist

This fictional tale by a screenwriter and head of a consulting firm that specializes in organizational development is billed not as a novel but as a "leadership fable." Just like Lencioni's earlier The Five Temptations of a CEO (1998), this new "fable" serves as a vehicle to illustrate the author's philosophy of management. The story is short and simple, but its lesson is large. Organizations must not only be smart; they must be healthy. For one thing, healthy companies can make themselves smarter, but unhealthy organizations squander intellectual advantage through infighting and cross-purposes. To drive home his moral, Lencioni follows his story with a discussion that explicitly sets down his four "actionable steps," or disciplines, that are the hallmark of a healthy organization--build a leadership team, create organizational clarity, communicate that clarity, and then reinforce it through human systems. Lencioni offers concrete examples of steps to take to establish these disciplines and suggests ways to assess whether they have been effective. David Rouse
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Another homerun by Lencioni! This will be the first book we give to the thousands of executives who take part in our program." (Verne Harnish, founder, Young Entrepreneurs' Organization; CEO, Gazelles, Inc.)

"This is a wonderful book--a compelling story with a significant message for executives. The lessons here are substantial, and the style of writing is succinct, thorough, and very entertaining." (David S. Pottruck, president & co-CEO, The Charles Schwab Corporation)

"Since implementing these ideas within our company, I've seen morale and productivity increase dramatically. Lencioni encourages us as managers to deal with human issues that are not quickly quantifiable in a spreadsheet or a quarterly report." (Glenn Kiser, vice president and general manager, Skywalker Sound, Lucas Digital LTD.LLC)

"Another great page-turner from Lencioni! As fun to read as it is insightful." (John Donahoe, worldwide managing director, Bain & Company)

"Pat's formula, while elegantly simple, has profound implications for leaders in all sectors. It's right on the mark." (Paula VanNess, president & CEO, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America)

"The four disciplines are the foundation of my company and should be required reading for all start-up ventures." (Mark Weidick, president and CEO, Cymerc Exchange, Inc.)

"This is a powerful model for any organization, large or small. Lencioni knows his stuff." (Mark Hoffman, chairman & CEO, Commerce One)

From the Back Cover

As CEO, most everything that Rich O'Connor did had something to do with at least one of the four disciplines on his famed "yellow sheet." Some of the firm's executives joked that he was obsessed with it.

Interestingly, only a handful of people actually knew what was on that sheet, and so it remained something of a mystery. Which was okay with Rich, because no one really needed to understand it, other than him.

He certainly never suspected that it would become the blueprint of an employee's plan to destroy the firm.

In this stunning follow-up to his best-selling book, The Five Temptations of a CEO, Patrick Lencioni offers up another leadership fable that's every bit as compelling and illuminating as its predecessor.
This time, Lencioni's focus is on a leader's crucial role in building a healthy organization--an often overlooked but essential element of business life that is the linchpin of sustained success.
Readers are treated to a story of corporate intrigue as Rich O'Connor, fictional CEO of technology consulting company Telegraph Partners, faces a leadership challenge so great that it that threatens to topple his company, his career and everything he holds true about what makes a leader.
In the story's telling, Lencioni deftly helps his readers understand the disarming simplicity and power of creating a healthy organization, and reveals four key disciplines that they can follow to achieve it.
Once again, Lencioni delivers an utterly gripping tale with a powerful and memorable message for all who strive to be extraordinary leaders.

About the Author

PATRICK LENCIONI, author of The Five Temptations of a CEO, is also the president of The Table Group, a San Francisco Bay Area management consulting firm that specializes in organizational and executive development. In addition to his writing and consulting, Pat is a sought-after speaker on topics related to leadership and management. He lives with his wife Laura, and their twin boys, Matthew and Connor, in the Bay Area.
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