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The Five Temptations of a CEO, Anniversary Edition: A Leadership Fable Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, June 23, 2008
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Imagine running into the ultimate management mentor late one night on an otherwise deserted commuter train, and walking away from the strange encounter with an encapsulated guide to success in the corporate world. That's exactly what screenwriter and business coach Patrick Lencioni has done in The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable, placing his tale in an easy-reading and thought- provoking kind of self-help novel.
Designed to be read in a single sitting, this book uses the unexpected meeting between troubled high-tech honcho Andrew O'Brien and a mysterious old man named Charlie to explore a series of common traps that can unwittingly ensnare any hard-driven executive. Lencioni hones in on the five "temptations" of the workplace: desires to jealously guard career status, consistently remain popular with subordinates, unfailingly make correct decisions, constantly strive for an atmosphere of total harmony, and always appear invulnerable. A discussion of the story's events and their real-world implications follows, as Lencioni shifts from screenwriter mode to business coach to help answer some of the questions he raises. --Howard Rothman --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Library Journal
This tape presents the story of Andrew, a CEO, and the five temptations he faces in management. The central part of the work is a quirky dream. Very simplified, the temptations are putting self first, wanting to be liked rather than to lead, making decisions reluctantly, elevating harmony above productive argument, and not trusting subordinates. The author's discussions at the end of the story help clarify the main points, and the narration is nicely done by Boyd Gaines. Some of the ideas are good, but the advice is not consistently insightful. Recommended only for libraries with large management collections.AMark Guyer, Stark Cty. Dist. Lib., Canton, OH
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book describes five common leadership pitfalls – even the most experienced managers will find themselves guilty at one point or another:
1. Being more interested in career status than achieving results.
2. Wanting to be popular with your direct reports instead of holding them accountable.
3. Wanting to ensure that your decisions are correct.
4. Desire for harmony.
5. Desire for invulnerability.
My biggest personal takeaways:
* Measure yourself by your achievements, not job title or position on the ladder.
* Don't get too friendly with subordinates – this will potentially hold back your ability to hold them accountable. Your job is to deliver results for the company, not be popular with your employees.
* Make sure goals and measures of success are clearly defined sooner rather than later. Without clarity, there's nothing to hold anyone accountable to. Make decisions even if you aren't 100% sure they are correct.
* Make sure members of your team feel safe and willing to engage in intense debates. Encourage them to challenge your ideas.
So, as with any group, the largest limitation to the group growing or becoming what it should be, is the limitation on the growth of the leadership in the organization, in specific, the growth of the leader.
To that end, the leader must grow at a rate at least 2 years ahead of where the company is, right now.
To figure out what that might be for you, imagine the growth of your organization succeeds at the rate you would like, then ask yourself, "What institutions, training, development, policies etc must be fully functioning then, to mKe it successful at that level?" The answer defines where you as leader, need to be today.
This book covers 5 of the key issues of leadership, in a short, easy to understand way, to give you a framework for the growth you need.
I now buy it, and give it to the CEOs I meet as a gift to the future of their organization.
I purchased this 10th anniversary edition of the book recently. Honestly I struggled a bit with purchasing it since I do not consider myself a CEO at all; however, the book would share principles of leadership and I decided to do so anyway. In this book, Lencioni shares a business "fable" whereby he examines the plight of a particular CEO. In the fable, this CEO comes across a "truth-speaker" (this time in a dream) who imparts to him 5 mistakes that CEOs who fail...make. These are not innate characteristics, but are temptations that, if not mastered, will certainly be the demise of the business leader. The temptations are:
* Choosing status over results
* Choosing popularity over accountability
* Choosing certainty over clarity
* Choosing harmony over conflict
* Choosing invulnerability over trust
Each of the temptations drive to the heart of what it is to be a leader. A CEO often functions without close accountability other than to a Board or Shareholders. As such, much of his daily management must come from self-discipline.
While many things caught my attention in the book, one particular observation was driven home:
"...A great president of the United States wouldn't be as proud of being elected as he would of actually accomplishing something. And a nonprofit agency shouldn't feel good getting funds unless they did something meaningful with the money. And there isn't a great coach alive who would say that his best day was getting hired. Winning games and championships is what great coaching is all about" (p.29).
This particular quote reminds me of the fact that great leaders do not play it safe or consider their role as accomplishment. Their role of leadership is for a purpose and every great CEO must understand that he is accountable to DO SOMETHING with the mantle of leadership that benefits the organization he leads. "Leaders" who simply exist and entertain the masses or maintain the status quo...aren't really leaders at all.
I recommend this book and this author. It is an easy read and offers many opportunities for self-evaluation. It also is a sobering examination for the reader. 5 stars again Lencioni!
Even though the message is simple, the work that becomes available from reading this book is some of the more difficult work of a leader. Even choosing which temptation most plagues your leadership is a gut-wrenching opener. I'm eager to support my coaching clients with this body of work!
This book is written like a small interesting story, and it is intended to be completed in 1 sitting - I would say that comment was not required because anyone would complete in one sitting. I would say, this book requires multiple reads until the 5 temptations sink into you and become second nature. Worth every penny.
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