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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
This informative book focuses on the problems and conflicts that often prevent teams from working together to achieve their stated goals. As he has done in works such as The Five Temptations of a CEO and The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, Lencioni couches his insights in narrative form: This time, he focuses on a fictional high-tech Silicon Valley start-up that has much potential but is burden by executives whose egos seem to be constantly clashing. The board brings in a talented CEO, Kathryn Peterson, whose experience lies mainly in manufacturing. How she wins over her executive team, who are wary of her nontechnological background, is the crux of the book -- and we become flies on the wall in three very dramatic but realistic off-site meetings that Peterson conducts with her direct reports in order to deal with the company's chronic problems.
After this fable, Lencioni provides a practical discussion of the methods Peterson used. The five dysfunctions of the title -- lack of trust, fear of conflict, unwillingness to commit, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results -- are ones that many leaders will recognize, but few will know exactly how to fix. Although Peterson’s Yoda-like wisdom may seem unrealistic to some, the universality of the issues she confronts will ultimately win you over.
This work is easily devoured in one sitting, and you may find yourself doing just that. Clearly, Lencioni’s fable and the ensuing discussion are drawn from his experience as the president of a Bay Area management consulting firm, but even not knowing that, you’ll appreciate the wisdom of his teachings. If you’re a member of a leadership team, this will prove to be an invaluable book. (Holly McGuire)
Holly McGuire is a book editor and consultant based in Chicago, Illinois.