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4.6 out of 5 stars106
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 June 2004
Patrick Lencioni offers a satisfactory fable about an executive wrestling to take hold of a company and create a smoothly functioning executive team. The narrative moves right along as he addresses the problem of feckless teamwork with the fictitious Decision Tech company as a test case. The novel is interesting, and you can read through it easily, getting to know the characters and participating in their business decisions. However, if you just want to learn about better teamwork quickly and leave, skim to the final chapters. Here, the author outlines a detailed model for diagnosing the five dysfunctions of a team and provides exercises and techniques to ameliorate those dysfunctions. The advice is complete and concrete. We recommend the meat and potatoes diagnosis and solutions as well as the cake and ice cream story, but how much narrative you want to read may depend on what shape your team is in when you start, as well as on your taste for tales.
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on 14 November 2005
I usually hate management books with "parables" in because I find them badly written, contrived and twee. This one is better than most - the story is plausible (and familiar) and Lencioni's writing style is punchy and clear. More importantly, it conceals an excellent model of senior team development.
What I like about the model is that all the stuff I already use in organisational development slots in nicely: what it gives is a clear roadmap. Using the model, both the facilitator and the participants can all be clear about what they are doing and why. For example, I've used psychometrics many times, but using them within the framework of building trust (the first stage in the model) seemed to make the learning deeper and more lasting.
Anyone who is part of a senior level team (where the team members are also team leaders), or anyone who works with these teams should find the book useful.
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on 9 March 2010
This book was recommended to me by one of the delegates at a recent training. It sounded great and Stephen (the delegate in question) was so enthusiastic about how it helped him understand his team and work more effectively that I just had to pick up a copy and read it. I am glad I did. Patrick Lencioni adopts a "commentary" style and follows Katheryn, a 57 year old executive who is a surprise appointee as a new CEO with responsibility of turning the fortunes of DecisionTech, a technology company, around. It focuses on the stakeholders in the management team and how the dynamics work between each of the players. Flicking back through it it seems a bit cold and shallow but while reading it I was totally caught up in the story and wanted to know how each of the players would react to the unfolding events. You will recognise characters, the situations, the meetings and companies you have worked in. It will remind you of times that you have taken unhelpful positions and it is the style that does that to you. The learning outcome is a useful pyramid model that can assist any manager in bringing a team together. All in all, an engaging book that provides insight and learning that makes it an essential read for progressive managers who believe they really can change things. Is that you?
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on 5 May 2011
This is a novel style book which weaves a story around common problems encountered within teams. I found this book extremely easy to read and could identify with the characters which made it easy to take on board and remember the serious messages that were being put forward. The story conveniently ends with the 'heroine' solving the problems within the team, but it does give some direction on why problems arise and suggestions on how they could be dealt with. I was reading around teams for my Masters degree, and this was a welcome respite from the often 'heavy' text books so often encountered, with messages that whetted the appetite to explore further. The book can easily be read in 2 hours and leaves the reader with a good feel. However the 'heroine' is potrayed as being very skilled and real life would probably encounter many more issues when trying to deal with similar problems so the reader must bear in mind the fictional style. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to gain an insight into team functionning as a starting point to looking at solutions to issues.
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on 31 October 2002
If you work in a team where things don't always go the way you'd expect then this is a book you should read. I bought it for three reasons: it's short, it's a single story, I needed something to read on a flight.
Short: Forget about those long management tomes which lose your attention after page 5 and feel like homework. This is a simple short story which Lencioni uses to illustrate his points on team membership leadership, membership and engagement. You will read this in two hours.
Single Story: Like me are you tired of reading all those guru books that read like a collage of name dropping and half pages of useless anecdotes? This book has a story line that will engage and retain you attention without forcing management bs down your retinas on every page. It's readable , the characters plausible and you will want to turn the page.
Makes Sense: Like anything good that has ever been written on management there is a healthy dose of common sense here. Unlike many other books I liked the fact that it does not contain the "How To" as much as it illustrates how to recognise specific issues in Teams and offers ideas on how to deal with them. The model used is simple and progressive and you can't apply it in one minute.
Does it work ? I have no idea but I will definitely use the ideas.
Recognise Anyone? absolutely.
Recommend it to a friend ? Yes and I'll also leave a copy on my bosses desk when I leave!
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on 12 October 2007
Lencioni tells a leadership fable about a corporate executive team, then lays out five very practical "dysfunctions" (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results), along with a questionnaire for readers to use in evaluating their own teams and specifics to help them understand and overcome these common shortcomings.
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I have read enough management books to I hope know the good from the bad - the fact that this book is the first one that after having read it I immediately started to read all over again, makes it for me a unique offering. This is due to:

1. The subject is one which applies in so many work situations that its potentially wide application cannot be denied. The comments made by other reviewers as to recognising the many different types of personalities involved and the five individual issues from their own experiences demonstrates the consistency of the problems being identifiable under many different factual scenarios.

2. The book is written in a very easily assimilated style and precise chapters per point plus the use of a fictional parable style story makes it come alive in a way that rarely happens in most management books.

3. The analysis of the five issues having been gone through is then in a summary end piece restated not only as to their individual relevance but also how they inter-relate and practical methods of addressing each is provided - this hands on solution solving makes the book a very powerful basis for personal decision making using the tools provided.

In part the impact of the book on myself may reflect that I read it as I was starting to grapple with one of the most difficult teams I have had to ever lead in over twenty years of management roles. That this book provided me with a number of options to consider and apply in making progress reflects the true value of the lessons it shares.
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on 23 September 2004
Sound (and usable) tenets of teamwork wrapped up in a very readble and interesting story. Great way to get the points across, and the characters are definitely believable - you'll recognize most of them.
The last section offers simple, practical and useful remedies for dysfunctional teams but doesn't condescend or patronise, in the way that the 'One Minute manager' books do.
Easily read in two or three hours and offering good advice.
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on 10 January 2010
I Can definely recommend this book.

I work in a large organization, which is based on teams. All of these dysfunctions definitly apply to wha i have experienced.

This book helps to bring it to your attention.

Read it ;)
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on 2 May 2013
I'm a consultant psychologist who specialises in developing leaders and leadership teams. Lencioni's book is a fantastic launch pad for discussions and interventions with my clients. Turned on their head, the 5 Dysfunctions become the 5 Fundamentals for a high performing team. These make intuitive sense and they're fairly well-supported in the pre-existing literature - one example being "The Wisdom of Teams", which I believe pre-dates Lencioni's book and talks a lot about the need for trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and a focus on results (although tending to use the word "performance") - the same 5 Fundamentals. That said, Lencioni is far easier to read, far more accessible to the everyday reader.

In my work, I combine the lessons from "The Five Dysfunctions..." book with those from "The Five Temptations of a CEO" - which is also a quick, easy and worthwhile read. It's basically the same model, told from different perspectives, and I present the temptations as the things a leader (or even team member) can be understandably tempted to do that are likely to stir up the dysfunctions in their team.

Why not 5 stars? Two reasons.

Firstly, Lencioni's tendency to bring his own religious views into his writing, which can leave some readers feeling overly preached to - this is compounded by the style in general, which is likely to appeal most to an American audience.

Secondly, the evidence base: the psychological literature on the role of conflict in team performance suggests it's more complex than Lencioni's model would have us believe. There are similar issues with trust as the foundation fundamental. Lencioni focuses on "vulnerability based trust" which appeals to many team building facilitators or "touchy feely" types, but is an overly simplistic perspective on trust. Trust is a critical factor, for sure, but I find many intelligent, task-driven teams need a fuller description of trust, based on the psychological research, to be convinced of the need for this fundamental in their team. Otherwise, they become distracted by the idea that they're going to need to share their deepest darkest fears with each other.

Could Lencioni have addressed those nuances and still delivered a book that's as readable and lessons as memorable? Perhaps. But, frankly, the book's done rather well as it is: if it ain't broke, why fix it?
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