- Hardcover: 229 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1st edition (April 11, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0787960756
- ISBN-13: 978-0787960759
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,086 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable 1st Edition
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Once again using an astutely written fictional tale to unambiguously but painlessly deliver some hard truths about critical business procedures, Patrick Lencioni targets group behavior in the final entry of his trilogy of corporate fables. And like those preceding it, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is an entertaining, quick read filled with useful information that will prove easy to digest and implement. This time, Lencioni weaves his lessons around the story of a troubled Silicon Valley firm and its unexpected choice for a new CEO: an old-school manager who had retired from a traditional manufacturing company two years earlier at age 55. Showing exactly how existing personnel failed to function as a unit, and precisely how the new boss worked to reestablish that essential conduct, the book's first part colorfully illustrates the ways that teamwork can elude even the most dedicated individuals--and be restored by an insightful leader. A second part offers details on Lencioni's "five dysfunctions" (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results), along with a questionnaire for readers to use in evaluating their own teams and specifics to help them understand and overcome these common shortcomings. Like the author's previous books, The Five Temptations of a CEO and Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, this is highly recommended. --Howard Rothman
From Publishers Weekly
In keeping with the parable style, Lencioni (The Five Temptations of a CEO) begins by telling the fable of a woman who, as CEO of a struggling Silicon Valley firm, took control of a dysfunctional executive committee and helped its members succeed as a team. Story time over, Lencioni offers explicit instructions for overcoming the human behavioral tendencies that he says corrupt teams (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results). Succinct yet sympathetic, this guide will be a boon for those struggling with the inherent difficulties of leading a group. 100,000 first printing.
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However, his fifth, and ultimate, principle - focusing on results - includes the “package deal” that associates individual goals with team failure. Or, put another way, he believes that an individual who is focused on her own goals will sacrifice the team for her own success. So, Lencioni says the individual must therefore sacrifice her personal goals for the team’s. By assuming this false dichotomy of sacrificing others to you or you to others, Lencioni misses a third approach that rejects sacrifice altogether: an approach that treats people as traders - voluntarily exchanging values to mutual benefit.
For example, take his protagonist, Kathryn. She is hired to reform the leadership team and is well-compensated to do so. The company believes her leadership is good for the business. She accepts the position because she believes the job is good for her. She aligns her interests with the company’s. Both benefit. Neither subjugates nor sacrifices one side for the other. Yet, this stands in direct contrast to his own definition of his fifth dysfunction.
Even with this (all-too-common) transgression, the rest of the book has more than enough value to overcome its shortcomings. Ultimately, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about leadership.
The biggest problem I see is that both books are framed about C-level and top level executive teams. Very few mid-managers would have the leverage and ability to implement all of these principles at lower levels of the organization. It's definitely possible in some cases, but it would significantly more challenging. His principles are universally true, but his coaching is directed at executives.
Finally, I bought the book and was excited to read it. I opened it up, and a cold shiver went down my spine. When I saw that the first section of the book was titled “The Fable” and written like story, I rolled my eyes thinking I just wasted my money. But I pushed through, and to my surprise, I really enjoyed this book.
I strictly read non-fiction. I have tried, but fiction does not appeal to me. I was tempted to read only the last section of the book which is in essay form, but I’m glad I didn’t. Lencioni can tell a convincing story while driving home the message without being cheesy or painfully obvious.
I definitely think this book would be good for anyone who has to lead a team. Teamwork is incredibly difficult, however it can provide amazing results. I can attest that the five dysfunctions are real and a challenge to overcome.
I would give this 5 stars if it weren’t for the common complaints that people have. So the 4 stars is more about setting expectations rather than the quality and utility of the work.