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The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity to the Most Important Organization in Your Life (J-B Lencioni Series) [Hardcover]

Patrick M. Lencioni
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

19 Sep 2008 J-B Lencioni Series (Book 1)
In this unique and groundbreaking book, business consultant and New York Times best–selling author Patrick Lencioni turns his sights on the most important organization in our lives—the family. As a husband and the father of four young boys, Lencioni realized the discrepancy between the time and energy his clients put into running their organizations and the reactive way most people run their personal lives. Having experienced the stress of a frantic family firsthand, he and his wife began applying some of the tools he uses with Fortune 500 companies at home, and with surprising results.

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The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity to the Most Important Organization in Your Life (J-B Lencioni Series) + The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (J-B Lencioni Series) + Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (19 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787995320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787995324
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 17 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 253,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Patrick Lencioni is a New York Times best-selling business author. In addition to his writing, he is president and founder of The Table Group, a firm that develops new ideas for making organizations more effective. Patrick is also a leading keynote speaker and a sought-after consultant to CEOs and teams at various organizations including large, multinational companies, start-ups, and non-profits.

Product Description

Review

Memo to mom: "if my clients ran their companies the way we run this family, they′d be out of business." So says the management–consultant dad in this slim but thought–provoking volume. BlackBerrys are blurring the line between work and home. Why not apply business principles to "the most important organization in your life"? It′s hard to argue with the idea that family goals should be carefully articulated. Likewise, a weekly family meeting can only help team spirit. But please, let′s draw the line at pink slips.

From the Inside Flap

The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family Theresa Cousins had never been so mad at her husband. Ironically, the comment that sparked her anger wasn′t really directed at her specifically, and certainly wasn′t meant as criticism. In fact, he said it without maliceor emotion. "If my clients ran their companies the way we run this family, they′d be out of business." In this unique and groundbreaking book, business consultant and New York Times best–selling author Patrick Lencioni turns his sights on the most important organization in our lives—the family. As a husband and the father of four young boys, Lencioni realized the discrepancy between the time and energy his clients put into running their organizations and the reactive way most people run their personal lives. Having experienced the stress of a frantic family firsthand, he and his wife began applying some of the tools he uses with Fortune 500 companies at home, and with surprising results. Like Lencioni′s other books, The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family is written as a fable, using realistic and humorous characters and plotlines that will keep readers turning pages with anticipation while they′re learning how to bring sanity to their lives. And they′ll be amazed how just a little bit of structure and a few minutes of follow–through each week can make the difference between drudgery and fulfillment at home.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family 3 Jun 2010
By C. Kidd
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A couple of weeks ago I finished reading The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity to the Most Important Organization in Your Life by Patrick Lencioni. I've enjoyed some of his other fable styled leadership books, and this was no different. The key concept from the book was that as leaders we spend time being clear on purpose, values and vision for our organisation and yet we rarely stop to think what we're doing with our family.

The book encourages you to ask 3 questions:

1. What makes your family unique
2. What is your family's top priority right now?
3. How do you talk about and use the answers to these questions?

Rather than posting a review straightaway over an enjoyable and easy to read book I left it a couple of weeks to see how easy it was for Hannah and I to implement. In the end we took two sessions to write out the answers to the above questions, and some of the micro questions. Lencioni's writing was helpful and highly adaptable for our family context and we're hoping to see real progress with our top priority. I'll write again on this in a few weeks time to let you know how it's going.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every family will benefit ! 28 Sep 2009
Format:Hardcover
If you have any sort of 'normal' family life with children, overly full of activities, friends, work, chores, prep, clubs etc and so live in what I would describe as normal family chaos, then you will enjoy this book. A highly readable and simple structure, it is really 'do-able' for the typical frantic family. It is not rocket science, and, has real value. It is something we probably all know (deep down or on the surface) and yet aren't doing. It is packaged in a simple,easy and fun way. Our family are enjoying working with this and looking forward to being more focused and less frantic (it is still work in progress ;o) My 3 children ranging from 7 to 11 all 'got it' and are enjoying being part of the discussion and solutions and to positively creating how we want to live. Buy it - you won't regret it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  55 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great BOOK!!! 4 Sep 2008
By J. K. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
First I will admit that I am a fan of Lencioni's previous titles. The author's style of writing is to teach trough a story of characters that you can identify with. The sub-title of the book is "A Leadership Fable". This is not a book that proposes a lesson through theory but through application.

I found myself able to identify with the characters in the story from the first page all the way through the entire book. I completed the book in three hours because I could not stop reading once I picked it up.

If you find yourself asking when does the chaos end between work, home, personal life then the 3 Big Question approach may just a tool that can get you pointed in the right direction. Is it earth shaking knowledge? No, but rarely are most practical approaches to dealing with business or family.

Is the approach by the author a silver bullet. No! But I believe the concept is simple enough and profound enough for almost any family that it will at least bring the family to the table to start discussing what is important and what is the priority for your family.

It's a great book. I would recommend for anyone no matter if you are a single, couple, family with small children or those who have no children at home.

If I could I would give everyone a copy. It's that good.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Change Your (family) Life 20 Sep 2008
By J. Klaus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Reactive? Scattered? Frantic? Chaotic? Stressed?

When I read Verne Harnish's recommendation of this book, I knew I had to read it. Verne's book "Mastering the Rockefeller Habits" on how to tame the chaos of a fast growing company has helped our business immensely. I even applied what I learned about running our company to my family--with good results. I don't know if Verne had that objective in mind, but it just made sense that if we clarified our values, purpose, and goals as a family, we should all be able to move in the same direction, just like we strive to do every day at work.

The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family specifically takes business health principles and applies them to the family. Very few families think of themselves as an organization that should strategically and systematically pursue improvement. But they should! We have 5 kids, ages 2 to 16, with a lot of activities in and out of the home. Do we have chaos? Absolutely. Can we tame the madness and live in peace and alignment in purpose? Patrick Lencioni says "yes," and the plan is far more simple than you might think.

Simple? Really? Can a business consultant and writer really make these concepts accessible to an average dad or mom who doesn't define and implement strategy at work? Yes. How? First, by telling how it's done in fable form from the perspective of a stay at home mom. And second, Theresa not only learns how to tame the chaos and bring sanity back, but she teaches the method to her friends, which gives us several examples of what it looks like in different families with various problems.

Theresa and her husband Jude answer the 3 big questions:

1. What makes your family unique?
2. What is your family's top priority?
3. How do you talk about and use the answers to these questions?

Theresa and Jude learn how to answer these questions and then apply the answers to their lives. Sanity and quality return to their family. They learn that "running a family, though difficult, should not be complicated. Like most things in life--marriage, parenting, leadership, physical fitness, financial stability--it comes down to mastering a handful of simple concepts, which requires more persistence and dedication than it does intelligence."

Now it's time for us to answer the 3 big questions, apply the answers in the context of our situation, and to achieve the clarity that will help us live our family life to the fullest.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air for the family! 6 Oct 2008
By M. Foster - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My wife and I have really grown with the simple steps outlined in The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family. Our 7 year old is totally involved as well.

I'm a successful business professional, and have always been experiencing mixed feelings during personal life because of the chaos.

At the times our family is disappointed when things aren't living up to our idea of the "perfect day," or month, or year, I have many feelings including:
- Sadness the family is disappointed - seeing the long faces of my wife and kids. I want us to be happy.
- Hopeful since I wait for my family to "finally" realize a little bit of team communication can go a long way to producing the results we want.
- Openly excited that maybe there will be some family buy-in to my desires to focus on teamwork now that we, once again, feel the pain of "what we are doing is not working" - so how about a change in how we do things around the home?

Patrick Lencioni's book has changed that! I read the book first, being a huge fan of all of Lencioni's books. By reading excepts to my lovely spouse, she became interested enough to read the book herself. Soon my wife was saying, "that's me! that's us!" and she read the book as fast as she would read her People magazine!

We are actively participating in the three steps as a family and the results are amazing. Short meetings, once a week, limited to 10 minutes, and our family is so much happier and functional than ever before.

This is a wonderful book for any family. Lots of books have "the right stuff" for families, and what sets The 3 Big Questions apart from other books in my mind is that the story of the fable format will appeal to people who ordinarily wouldn't read a book like this.

I hope to some day meet Mr. Lencioni and thank him in person. Our family life has gone to a whole new level around here!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting Until Your Family Implodes? 18 Oct 2008
By Thomas M. Loarie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In "The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family," fabled Pat Lencioni offers us a fable focusing on the most important organization in life, our family. Motivated by his own experience and observation of his contemporaries, Lencioni concludes today's parents are stressed out and overwhelmed because they operate by the seat of their pants. The long term costs are real but go unappreciated until the family implodes. Unfocused day to day living increases rates of depression, substance abuse, and psychological illness leading to serious dysfunctions and divorce.

Lencioni offers a prescription for restoring sanity and ensuring more purposeful, less frantic lives. It centers on three key questions:
1. What makes your family unique?
2. What is your family's top priority - rallying cry - right now?
3. How will you use the answers? And how will you keep the answers alive?

The fundamental principal applied by Lencioni is context. Once a family knows the context in which it operates, they will have an agreed-upon guide for family decision-making.

My wife, who read this in one sitting, loved the book as well. She noted that Lencioni's model provides couples with an exellent methodology for dialogue on child rearing and day-to-day living. "The model leads to consistency on decisions and a way to judge a couple's response to unplanned events. Most importantly, it will knit couples closer together as it leads to better coordination and mutual support."

This is an excellent book for all families. Prior to the publication of "The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family," Lencioni tested his prescription and provides outcomes from a number of families who tried the medicine. He notes every family plan will be different and will not alleviate all stress, as some chaos is inevitable.

I read "The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family" with my children's families in mind only to discover that Lencioni's sage advice is hard to ignore for any couple, regardless of age.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Family Leadership Made Simple" 17 Sep 2008
By David R - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Everyone I know struggles to maintain a balanced family life. Why is it such a challenge? One of the most common reasons is that we lack simple, practical tools that help us to articulate our priorities and to revisit them consistently so that they become a guiding force in daily decision-making. This is exactly the need that Pat and his team at The Table Group have addressed. With their typical flair for making complex ideas accessible for all of us (this book could be sub titled "Family Leadership for Dummies"), they have developed a user-friendly method that will help us close that gap between who we want to be and how we actually navigate family life. And especially for those of you who may feel overwhelmed with the problem, read this book. Change is not as far away as you may think!
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