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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 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 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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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 24 May 2016
Fantastic book. Its different in that it reads like a fiction story but just in a business sense. You will learn the journey of a newly appointed CEO that makes changes and how these are discussed and brought up.
It doesng to into unnecessary detail which kept me really engaged from start to finish.

It just makes sense as well. And I can really identify all of this with my work situation. As an HR Manager I found this really useful in approaching a pretty similar situation and articulating what I have identified in a really straightforward and clear way. Thank you Patick Lencioni!
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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 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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This is one in a series of "leadership fables" in which Patrick Lencioni shares his thoughts about the contemporary business world. His characters are fictitious human beings rather than anthropomorphic animals, such as a tortoise that wins a race against a hare or pigs that lead a revolution to overthrow a tyrant and seize control of his farm.

In this instance, Lencioni focuses on "the rarity" of effective teamwork, noting that "teams, because they are made up of imperfect human beings, are inherently dysfunctional." Is teamwork therefore doomed to failure? No. According to Lencioni, productive collaboration can be achieved by certain behaviors that are "at once theoretically uncomplicated, but extremely difficult to put into practice day after day." Moreover, the principles that guide and inform these behaviors "apply to more than just teamwork. I fact, I stumbled upon them somewhat by accident in pursuit of a theory about leadership" that he discusses in an earlier work, The Five Temptations of the CEO (1998).

Here's the fictional situation. A new CEO, 57 year-old Kathryn Petersen, has been hired by the board of DecisionTech to replace its co-founder and former CEO, 37-year-old Jeff Shanley, who continues to head the firm's business development. He was (in effect) forced to step down primarily because, although DecisionTech's 150 employees "seemed to like him well enough personally, they couldn't deny that under his leadership the atmosphere within the company had become increasingly troubling. Backstabbing among the executives had become increasingly troubling."

Almost immediately, it becomes obvious that Kathryn "just didn't seem to fit the DecisionTech culture" and that is a key point for reasons best revealed within Lencioni's narrative. She initiates a series of off-site meetings with her senior managers. Their discussions - and what does (and does not) happen between the off-site meetings - allow Lencioni to dramatize both the five "dysfunctions of a team" to which the title of his book refers and the solutions to each that he recommends. He is a brilliant business thinker but he also possesses the skills of a master raconteur, introducing a cast of characters, conflicts between and among them, and then allowing "rising action" build to a climax (i.e. resolution) also best revealed within the narrative.

As is his custom in each of the other volumes in the series of "leadership fables," Lencioni then provides a "Model" section and supplementary material (Pages 185-224) whose value-added benefits will help his reader to make effective application of the lessons learned from the experiences shared by Kathryn and her DecisionTech associates.

Those who share my high regard for this volume are urged to check out Patrick Lencioni's other books (especially his Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team) as well as these sources in which their authors share their insights about writing an effective business narrative: Stephen Denning's The Springboard, and his soon-to-be-published The Secret Language of Leadership, Doug Lipman's Improving Your Storytelling, Annette Simmons' The Story Factor and Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, and Storytelling in Organizations co-authored by John Seely Brown, Denning, Katarina Groh, and Laurence Prusak.
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on 21 May 2016
Although it starts out feeling a bit 'light weight', owing to the story telling style used by the author, it doesn't take long to see that there are many useful ideas - which could be applied to any team.
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on 21 December 2012
The third CD is the best which gives advice on how to over come the dysfunctions. I would have preferred it to have been largely factual as opposed to wrinting a play to demonstrate the concepts. Worth buying.
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