Thursday, May 24, 2012

Meet Patrick Lencioni

Advantage: Lencioni
To lead your organization, church, or team to long-term sustainable success, you need an advantage. And Patrick Lencioni knows what it is. In his newest book, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, he makes the case that organizational health will surpass all other disciplines in business as the greatest opportunity for improvement and competitive advantage. Lencioni is bursting with high energy leadership wisdom and we’re thrilled to have him back at the Summit to train and encourage you right where you’re leading today.

Messy, Imperfect, and…Healthy
An organization is healthy when it is whole, consistent, and complete; when its management operations and culture are unified. Healthy organizations are free of politics and confusion, and provide an environment where star performers never want to leave.

In The Advantage, Lencioni takes a holistic, comprehensive approach to improving organizational health. And how does he define a healthy organization? Healthy companies are messy and imperfect. They argue, make mistakes, and try things that don’t work. But they know who they are, what they believe in, and what they’re trying to accomplish Employees want to work there, they have loyal consumers, and extremely humble leaders who know why they are there and what the organization is all about.

Fable: Business and management meet the fictional narrative
Lencioni has become the king of dealing with management issues within the context of a fable. “I thought readers would be able to relate to the characters and issues they were facing in their businesses if I wrote the books as fables,” he says. And writing fiction came easily for him. As an amateur screenwriter, he knew how to bring ideas to life by using characters and dialogue.

In The Advantage, however, Lencioni takes a U-turn from styles of his other management books. “The nature of the subject matter is too broad to fit within the context of one story,” he says. Previous books focused on more limited issues—teamwork, meetings, employee engagement.

The Vulnerable Leader
What is the first thing people can do to improve the organizational health of the company where they work? According to Lencioni, it starts with the individual and their team. “Leaders need to understand what it is to be vulnerable. Vulnerability inspires trust on the leadership team and that trust is the foundation for teamwork—one of the cornerstones of organizational health.” The concept of vulnerability has a trickle-down effect. If a leader refuses to be vulnerable, refuses to admit mistakes, shortcomings, or weaknesses, others will follow suit. “When that happens,” says Lencioni,” organizational health is impossible.”

Lencioni, a business consultant with a diverse base of clients including a mix of Fortune 500 companies, churches, the military, professional sports organizations, non-profits, and universities, speaks to thousands of leaders each year, including the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit. His most recent books are Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding the Tree Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty (2010), The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family (2008), and The Advantage (2012).

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