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The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable Hardcover – September 1, 2000
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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
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
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Top customer reviews
The 4 disciplines turn out to be simple, yet powerful things. and if we as CEOs can incorporate this behaviour in our firms, then we would be winning too. Well once the other firm isn't doing this... also i must mention that Patrick has one of the best writing styles i have ever seen, i felt fairly relaxed as i relished the jolly welcoming font he used in this book, i liked how he broke up the paragraphs so that you felt as if you could take a breather to think about what he said for a few mins or more, and then get back into it. As opposed to other books that have a tendency to let their paragraphs lead onto 4 pages or more. I'll be the first to tell you i haven't read a million books as i've seen other do but I have read 70 books+ so i feel i'm fairly qualified to say such a thing.
If you're new to "how to run a corporation" type books, this will be really beneficial to you, on the other hand. if you're fairly learnt in this area, then it will probably serve as an enjoyable fable that you managed to pick up some decent tips from
This hard cover is strong, the title cover material is of respectable calibre
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As a leader of a church, I am always looking to improve my effectiveness to oversee an organization. Not all lessons from the "business world" apply perfectly, but I have found that even in the cases where there is no direct correlation, it is good to understand how those in the business world think. Beyond that, the principles that Lencioni communicates can usually be adapted to my particular context.
What drew me to this book was the emphasis on the role of the senior leader in a company. The fable involves how the CEO interacts with his management team and how, in the most successful companies, there is a dogged determination to remain committed to the "most" important things. A CEO could become involved in a number of aspects of company operations; however, he is most effective in developing his senior leadership team, bringing clarity of purpose (vision) in every decision and direction, communicating that vision/direction "ad nauseum," and reinforcing the clarity through the human systems of the organization.
Now I did not just share any new insights or upend some popular "B School" teaching; rather, I just shared what Lencioni reinforced throughout the book. A senior leader who focuses on these aspects of the organization can allow his senior leadership to carry out the task in the most effective way for their particular area of responsibility.
While there is no "new" information or "magic pill" related in this book, there is a huge opportunity for the leader to evaluate his/her own organizational health, persona leadership effectiveness, and to make adjustments accordingly.
I recommend the book highly to all leaders who are responsible for "shepherding" the vision and overseeing the direction of an organization. If you ever wanted "permission" to pull back from for the intricacies of the details and focus on what you do best...this is the book for you.