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The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues Hardcover – April 26, 2016
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"The author offers concrete tools to identify and engage ideal teammates who are capable of sustainably imnproving the performance of the company." (Business Digest, June 2017). The Ideal Team Player is a quick, engaging, and informative read great for the beach or your next trip. (Opensource, June 2016) A book Lencioni fans were waiting for (The Marketing Society, July 2016)
From the Inside Flap
"You guys really dropped the ball on the teamwork project."
They didn't say anything, so Jeff continued, focusing on Bobby. "You said it wasn't just posters and t-shirts, but what else was it?" Before they could answer, he went on. "Because you don't seem to know what you mean when you talk about team players."
"We didn't say" Clare wanted to explain, but Jeff wouldn't let her.
"Oh wait. I forgot." Jeff was being sarcastic, but not rude. "You do have one clear definition. A person can't be a jackass."
They laughed, but in a guilty sort of way.
In his classic best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni laid out a groundbreaking, new approach for attacking the dangerous group behaviors that destroy teamwork. Here, he turns his focus to the individual member of a team, revealing the three indispensable virtues that make some people better team players than others.
Lencioni's latest page-turning fable is the story of a leader desperate to save his company by cracking the code on the virtues that define a true team player. Jeff Shanley takes over his family's locally revered construction firm and realizes that the only way to deliver on the two biggest projects in the company's history is to rapidly build a culture of hiring and development around those virtues.To do that, he'll have to confront and risk losing talented employees who don't know how to work on a team, and convince his fiery VP of operations not to lower the company's hiring standards in the face of short-term business pressure.
Beyond the fable, Lencioni presents a powerful framework and easy-to-use tools for identifying, hiring, and developing ideal team players in any kind of organization.Whether you're a leader striving to create a culture of teamwork, a human resources professional looking to hire real team players, or an employee wanting to make yourself an invaluable team member, The Ideal Team Player will prove
to be as practical as it is compelling.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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STEP 1. Order four copies of Patrick Lencioni's new book, The Ideal Team Player.
STEP 2. Hand-deliver the book, along with a Starbucks card, to each of my direct reports, with this assignment: "Invest up to four hours at Starbucks this week—and read this important book. It's likely the most team-transforming exercise we’ll do together this year."
STEP 3. Schedule a half-day off-site team meeting (for next week) to discuss "How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues” (the book’s sub-title).
STEP 4. Facilitate the senior team meeting (or invite a facilitator to do the honors) and get buy-in and commitment (a la Lencioni's pyramid in The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business). Assign next steps.
STEP 5. Step back and watch your culture transform as you articulate three virtues: Humble, Hungry, and People Smart.
Wow! Patrick Lencioni has done it again! This is one powerful book--and maybe his funniest. In his classic "leadership fable" format (example: Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business), Lencioni delivers a page-turning business story. New CEO. Two direct reports. Massive dysfunction. New hires needed yesterday. (Sound familiar?)
But there's another problem: the top three leaders cannot define the "ideal team player” qualities. (Can you?) Half of the people they hire either quit or are terminated. Finally…finally, they agree on one virtue:
"Maybe our new slogan should be
'no jackasses allowed.'
That would make a great poster."
So, in search of more acceptable lingo and meaning, the leadership triad lands on Humble, Hungry, and Smart. Lencioni defines these virtues in the final 60 pages (The Model and application), worth the price of the book.
HUMBLE: "Great team players lack excessive ego or concerns about status." He adds, "Humility is the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player."
HUNGRY: "Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent."
SMART: "Smart simply refers to a person's common sense about people."
Caution #1: What if you settle for just one out of three? Or, if you're fortunate, two out of three virtues? After all, no one's perfect.
Lencioni: "What makes humble, hungry, and smart powerful and unique is not the individual attributes themselves, but rather the required combination of all three."
His memorable labels for the "one out of three" prospects are caution enough:
--Humble Only: The Pawn
--Hungry Only: The Bulldozer
--Smart Only: The Charmer
What About 2 Out of 3?
“The next three categories that we'll explore represent people who are more difficult to identify because the strengths associated with them often camouflage their weaknesses.
“Team members who fit into these categories lack only one of the three traits and thus have a little higher likelihood of overcoming their challenges and becoming ideal team players. Still, lacking even one in a serious way can impede the team building process.”
Caution #2: Don’t use the following labels at work—but they are perfect descriptors for your “2 out of 3” team members:
--Hungry and Humble, but Not Smart: The Accidental Mess-Maker
--Humble and Smart, but Not Hungry: The Lovable Slacker
--Hungry and Smart, but Not Humble: The Skillful Politician
Watch out for the banana peel when you’re interviewing a candidate without humility. "Unfortunately, because they are so smart, Skillful Politicians are very adept at portraying themselves at being humble, making it hard for leaders to identify them and address their destructive behaviors."
Lencioni urges: Don't hire unless you and your team members can positively affirm a three-for-three person. I know. It's not easy, but read the book, and you'll be absolutely convinced.
Lencioni packs the last 60 pages with highly practical insights, warnings, and next steps. He lists very practical ways to assess your current team members and what to do with the 0-for-3, 1-for-3, and 2-for-3 people already on your team. He gives solutions, including a helpful self-assessment with 18 questions.
See you at Starbucks!
P.S. By the way, Andrew Murray’s insights in Humility will whack you between your selfies (in just 59 pages): “Humility is the only soil in which the graces root; the lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure.”
To my taste the fable is too long (even though this is a short book altogether) and does not add enough to the concepts, but this is still a very worthy read to anyone who builds and is a part of teams of any kind.