Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – A Leadership Fable was presented to me as the CEO’s handbook. Indeed, it is. Every CEO who desires his company to produce results greater than expectation should read this book. Read it, re-read it, dog ear pages, highlight, underline and put notes in the margin. Apply what you learn and then reread it. Don’t leave this book on your night stand partially read. In fact buy copies for your team members and make them read it too. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team must be required reading.
As Lencioni explains:
Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it so powerful and so rare.
Teamwork! It sounds simple enough. How many of us have grown up in our careers being preached at endlessly about teamwork? There is no “I” in team and all that. Yet, how many of us share the experience that many of the teams of which we are members are not only dysfunctional, but simply fail to produce the desired results? Probably just about every one of us can say this.
The power of a fully functioning team cannot be understated. Lencioni goes on to quote a friend, “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”
But, this book is not just useful for those of us with business management concerns. This is more than a CEO handbook, it’s a life handbook. Regardless that the author wrote this book with business management in mind everyone can use this pertinent and valuable information for any team, in any setting, at any time. Our lives are composed of membership in multiple teams. Families, coaches, teachers, rabbis, ministers and clerics of all religions can benefit from the material presented.
Lencioni’s prose is crisp and well paced. The business or general reader will find it easy to read quickly rapidly flipping pages. This may be the book’s only real fault as the reader may incorrectly assume the information is simple and they would be correct – it is simple, deceptively simple and on this point I urge caution. As a favorite professor of mine from college used to state, “You always need to read a book at least twice. The first time somewhat quickly so you can see what happens and then the second time more slowly to absorb the information and knowledge it is imparting.” As I stated earlier this book requires more than just a couple of reads.
The Five Dysfunctions, like so many books in the business category, are written for a sixth grade reading level making it accessible to your average MBA or CEO. However, the simplistic writing style does not negate that powerfully useful information and techniques offered.