Workplace: An Advantage

Governmental and for-profit billion-dollar enterprises I have worked with recently commented on their use of The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni. So, I tracked down a copy of the book. Here’s my review.

Every generation of executives and leaders needs a fresh take on organizational health models for achieving business success. In Lencioni’s 2012 book, four disciplines and six important questions are presented along with end of chapter checklists. His presentation is immensely accessible.

According to Lencioni, organizational health is comprised of four disciplines: 1. Build a cohesive leadership team; 2. Create clarity; 3. Overcommunicate clarity; 4. Reinforce clarity.

Five behaviors are needed to build a cohesive leadership team. Building trust. Mastering conflict. Achieving commitment. Embracing accountability. Focusing on results.

In the core values discussion tied to the second, create clarity discipline, Lencioni suggests there are aspirational, accidental, and permission-to-play values. I found this section of the book to be the most illuminating. Aspirational: things we hope to do or achieve and what culture we work within.

Accidental: these values arose unintentionally, yet employees and customers can see them. Sometimes they are helpful and sometimes hurtful. For example, maybe everyone graduated from similar schools, or dresses the same, or looks attractive in the same ways – Lencioni says this communicates accidentally what a group values.

Permission-to-play: “These values are the minimum behavior standards that are required in an organization” says Lencioni. Things like honesty, integrity, and respect – generic values. He says these need to be separated out from core values that are unique to your organization.

The six important questions are also found in the second discipline chapter, page 77.

  1. Why do we exist?
  2. How do we behave?
  3. What do we do?
  4. How will we succeed?
  5. What is most important, right now?
  6. Who must do what?  (I’ll add, BY WHEN?)

The third and fourth disciplines are all about communicating, what to communicate, how to communicate, when to communicate. He provides useful ideas and structures that leaders of any experience level can implement.

What outside tools are your team and organization using to create advantages internally and externally?

Workplace: Managing the moments of our day-to-day business lives takes work. Together, let’s explore what issues and activities affect us every day (or some days) that we go to work. – Jana

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