Lencioni, The Advantage, Organizational Health

Lencioni-The-Advantage Amazon.com

Patrick M. Lencioni, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business. Jossey-Bass, 2012.

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LifeandLeadership.com Summary

This is an excellent, usable tool to help church staff and leadership teams anchor a newly established (strategically planned) congregational culture. Like all other Lencioni texts, it assumes the controls and incentives of corporations, which is not always present in churches and religious organizations. The essential principles, however, translate well into congregational life.  Lencioni offers a “Four Disciplines Model” for organizational health. Below is a brief summary based on the “Organizational Health Checklist” that appears toward the end of the book (195-197), and may also be found online.

Discipline 1: Build a Cohesive Team - A small team of 3-10 who trust each other enough to be vulnerable and engage conflict, meet and achieve clear-cut, active and specific agreements, then hold one another accountable to put the needs of the larger organization ahead of their own departments.

Discpline 2: Create  Clarity - The team members know, agree on, and are passionate about the purpose of the organization, embrace a small set of specific values, align around a success-defining strategy, rally around a goal, and respect and appreciate how each person contributes to the end result.

Discipline 3: Overcommunicate Clarity - The leadership team clearly communicates and regularly reminds all those in their departments of Lencioni’s “Six Aspects of Clarity.”

1. Why does this organization exist?
2. How do we behave?
3. What do we do?
4. How are we going to set ourselves apart strategically?
5. What’s the most important thing — your rallying cry — right now?
6. Who needs to do what for this to work?

The team always leave meetings with clear and specific agreements about what to communicate to their employees, quickly communicate this after meetings, and insure that employees are able to accurately articulate the organization’s reason for existence, values, strategic anchors, and goals.

Discipline 4: Reinforce Clarity - The organization ensures new hires are selected based on values and then trained in the six elements of clarity, activates a simple and nonbureaucratic system for setting goals and reviewing progress with employees, “manages out” those who don’t fit the organizational values, and builds compensation and reward systems around organizational values and goals.

As one would expect from Lencioni’s previous volumes, he also discusses the importance of and procedures for great meetings in establishing and maintaining a healthy culture. 

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

There is a competitive advantage out there, arguably more powerful than any other. Is it superior strategy? Faster innovation? Smarter employees? No, New York Times best-selling author, Patrick Lencioni, argues that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre ones has little to do with what they know and how smart they are and more to do with how healthy they are. In this book, Lencioni brings together his vast experience and many of the themes cultivated in his other best-selling books and delivers a first: a cohesive and comprehensive exploration of the unique advantage organizational health provides.

Simply put, an organization is healthy when it is whole, consistent and complete, when its management, operations and culture are unified. Healthy organizations outperform their counterparts, are free of politics and confusion and provide an environment where star performers never want to leave. Lencioni’s first non-fiction book provides leaders with a groundbreaking, approachable model for achieving organizational health—complete with stories, tips and anecdotes from his experiences consulting to some of the nation’s leading organizations. In this age of informational ubiquity and nano-second change, it is no longer enough to build a competitive advantage based on intelligence alone. The Advantage provides a foundational construct for conducting business in a new way—one that maximizes human potential and aligns the organization around a common set of principles.

About the Author

Patrick Lencioni is founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to helping leaders improve their organizations’ health since 1997. His principles have been embraced by leaders around the world and adopted by organizations of virtually every kind including multinational corporations, entrepreneurial ventures, professional sports teams, the military, nonprofits, schools, and churches.

Lencioni is the author of ten business books with over three million copies sold worldwide. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek, and USA Today.

Prior to founding The Table Group, Lencioni served on the executive team at Sybase, Inc. He started his career at Bain & Company and later worked at Oracle Corporation.

Lencioni lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and their four sons.

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