Customer Review

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lencioni tackles an all too common problem in organizations. He uses his established approach of fable - then helpful advice., February 10, 2006
This review is from: Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable About Destroying the Barriers That Turn Colleagues Into Competitors (Hardcover)
Lencioni is quickly becoming a legend in modern business writing (publishers Jossey-Bass must rub their hands in glee every time he phones them and says he has a new title in the works,) but this is precisely because he is a smooth communicator who works outside the dry confines of academic writing. He does this by focusing on the story-telling - using fables and realistic stories to illustrate the all-to-common problems inside today's organizations.

Here he tackles a really big issue: the "silo mentality" that results in companies where 1+1+1=2 due to lost energy, time and commitment because the toughest competition comes from "the people over in engineering" or "the money people who don't understand we have to spend to get our product to market." Etc Etc.

In fact Ed Schein, who is worth checking out because he's the godfather of Organizational studies, concluded after some 45 years in the field, that organizations fundamentally break into three tribes: the engineers, the money people and the "people" people (marketing, HR etc.) He came to accept this as a reality, and advises us to work around it, live with it, instead of trying to get everyone to see everything the same way.

To his credit, Lencioni fundamentally shows the same acceptance. He doesn't lay down a single "thou shalt" template for universal values alignment within organizations - and he recognises the differences inherent within units of an organization. What he does is set up some simple rules for getting these divisions to at least pull in the same direction and focus on shared objectives.

Not all readers feel 100% comfortable with the Lencioni style. His advice always seems to come in 5s, his books each start with a fable: he sticks to a formula and he's in danger of becoming the John Grisham of management advice - too populaist and, in the end, too samey.

Fortunately he's smart enough to pack in excellent, usable advice. I'm a research consultant to organizations, and am putting this volume on my "books to give to clients" list.

This is ideal for managers at all levels, for change consultants and - as the opening fable tells it - for anyone who feels lost, thwarted or betrayed by their own organization, and can't quite identify the cause of their anxiety. If it isn't a specific issue, then its probably the structure of the place.

Recommended as a quick read, 200 pages, but with some big helpful diagnoses and problem-solving ideas. A great "pass along" book that can help bring about change.
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