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The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable 10th Anniversary Edition (J–B Lencioni Series) Hardcover – 11 Jul 2008
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"A must read for all leaders, not just CEOs. Take it from someone whohas been tempted. Better than a personal coach." (Boyd Clark, president and CEO, The Tom Peters Group)
"Pat Lencioni delivers a provocative message: CEOs mainly havethemselves to blame when things go wrong. If you′re a CEO (or any manager for that matter), do you have the courage to face the blame? Doing so could change your future–for the better." (Dr. Jerry Porras, co–author, Built To Last; professor, Stanford School of Business)
"A truly enjoyable story. I found myself immediately trying to decidewhether I had fallen victim to the temptations. I think most executiveswill be able to recognize parts of themselves in this well–written,enlightened book!" (Ellyn McColgan, president, Fidelity Investments Tax Exempt Services Co.)
"This book provides extraordinary insight into the pitfalls that leadersface when they lose sight of the true measure of success–results. Thismodel is required reading for my staff." (Dr. Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO, Novell Corporation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
The FIVE TEMPTATIONS of a CEO
When it was published over a decade ago, The Five Temptations of a CEO was like no other business book that came before. Highly sought–after management consultant Patrick Lencioni deftly told the tale of a young CEO who, facing his first annual board review, knows he is failing but doesn′t know why. Written to be read in one sitting, this refreshingly original and utterly compelling, razor–sharp novelette serves as a timeless and potent reminder that success as a leader can come down to practicing a few simple behaviors behaviors that are painfully difficult for each of us to master. Any executive can learn how to recognize the mistakes that leaders make.
The lessons of The Five Temptations of a CEO are as relevant today as ever, and this special anniversary edition celebrates over a decade of inspiration and enlightenment with a brand new introduction and reflections from Lencioni on the new challenges in business and leadership that have occurred since the original book was published.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
As CEO of a company I can say that this book was better than most. Any CEO position comes with different responsibilites and this book isn't trying to give the reader a check list of items they should meet in order to be successful. Instead, this book gives the reader five different holes CEO often fall into. This is something that other books fail to address, it's also probably the main area most CEOs fail at.
The book was a little too easy and a little too short, but I enjoyed how the temptations were laid out and the fable story line worked for me. However, I would have liked to have seen more information on how to correct these temptations once a CEO knows that he/she has problems.
A little too short and little too easy, but better than most of the books out there. This is a book any CEO or any want-to-be CEO should read.
In his Introduction to this book, Lencioni observes that all chief executives who fail -- and most of them do at one time or another - make the same basic mistake: "Essentially what they are doing is putting the success of their organizations in jeopardy because they are unwilling to face - and overcome - the five temptations of a CEO." Briefly, here's the fictitious situation. Lencioni introduces Andrew O'Brien who is about to complete his first year as CEO of Trinity Systems, a position to which he was promoted after four years with the company. He is about to participate in the first board meeting in which he will be held accountable for the results of an entire fiscal year. "Those results, as he had grown accustomed to saying, were `unspectacular at best.'" He dreads the meeting. Almost immediately, it becomes obvious that Andrew's career is in serious jeopardy...and he knows it as he leaves the office shortly after midnight and takes a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) commuter train to return home.
What then happens allows Lencioni to dramatize for C-suite executives - and especially for CEOs - the importance of recognizing and then resisting the aforementioned temptations. Once aboard the train, Andrew meets and engages in a conversation with Charlie that continues when they are joined by the Bald Man, the Stylish Man, and the Tall Man. As a result of this extended conversation, Andrew has the business equivalent of a religious epiphany: he realizes why his leadership as CEO has been, until now, "unspectacular at best" and also realizes what needs to be accomplished during the board meeting the next morning.
Lencioni adds a nice dramatic touch when there is a brief encounter in the hallway after the board meeting. Andrew sees a maintenance man hanging a photograph, "wearing the same color shirt that Charlie wore the night before... Turning toward the end of the hallway, Andrew saw the old man turn the corner. He yelled `Sir?! Charlie?' The old man did not answer or reappear. Andrew sprinted to the end of the hall, turned the corner, and saw no one." The significance of this moment is best revealed within the narrative, as are the circumstances at Trinity Systems three years later, examined in the final chapter.
At least 8-10 years ago, Lencioni apparently made a conscious decision to address especially important business issues by creating a human context for each rather than merely offering answers to questions or prescribing solutions to problems. To me, this is one of the greatest benefits of a business narrative, in this instance of a leadership fable: Creating a series of real-world situations (albeit portrayed fictitiously) that readers can identify with emotionally as well as rationally. He is a brilliant business thinker but he also possesses the skills of a master raconteur as he introduces a cast of characters, develops conflicts between and among them, and then allows "rising action" to build to a climax that is also best revealed within the narrative. Unexpected plot developments engage the reader even more.
As is Lencioni's custom in each of the other volumes in the series of "leadership fables," he concludes with a section -- "The Model: A Summary of Why Executives Fail" (Pages 111-130) -- whose value-added benefits will help his reader to make effective application of the lessons learned from Andrew's experiences as he struggles with various temptations as well as with the consequences of his decisions...and non-decisions. The questions posed in the self-assessment section are especially well devised. Easy to ask, of course, but difficult to answer.
Those who share my high regard for this volume are urged to check out Patrick Lencioni's other "leadership fables" (especially The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive) as well as Ram Charan's Know-How, Adrian Slywotsky's The Upside, Michael Ray's The Highest Goal, David Maister's Practice What You Preach, Bill George's Authentic Leadership and his more recently published True North, James O'Toole's Creating the Good Life, and Michael Maccoby's Narcissistic Leaders.
Without the Five Dysfunctions, you may be left with something far less useful as a tool for your own leadership. 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 presents very similar concepts - albeit in a drier, more manual-like way.
Speaking of style, Lencioni has a 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. That said, I kinda like it as an alternative to some of the really dull (but often informative) leadership books out there.
As a psychologist, I do have one professional reservation when using Lencioni's work - which I do often. The psychological evidence on team and leadership performance is more complex than Lencioni's underlying model suggests. For instance, 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.
As I said in my review of the Five Dysfunctions: 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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Most recent customer reviews
Keeps you focussed on the key issues
I heartily recommend it for anyone who is a CEO, has just become one or is about to become one.Read more
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