The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable

Overview

As he stared out the picture window from his office, Andrew O'Brien wondered how it had come to this.
Tomorrow would be the one-year anniversary of his promotion to CEO. It would also be the first board meeting where he would be accountable for the results of an entire fiscal year. Those results, as he had grown accustomed to saying, were "unspectacular at best."
Andrew could...
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San Francisco, CA 1998 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 134 p. Audience: General/trade. Business & Economics; Chief ... executive officers; Didactic fiction; Fables; Fiction; General; Leadership; Management Read more Show Less

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Overview

As he stared out the picture window from his office, Andrew O'Brien wondered how it had come to this.
Tomorrow would be the one-year anniversary of his promotion to CEO. It would also be the first board meeting where he would be accountable for the results of an entire fiscal year. Those results, as he had grown accustomed to saying, were "unspectacular at best."
Andrew could not deny that he was at a low point in his brief tenure as CEO, a point he never expected to reach so soon.
Then things got worse.

In this stunning business fiction debut, Patrick Lencioni delivers a powerful wake-up call to all of us who dare to lead.
Young, ambitious, and overwhelmed Andrew O'Brien personifies a part of every leader as he wanders in search of the elusive silver bullet that will propel him to success. He happens upon an unlikely guide who distills the seemingly infinite list of leadership perils into the five temptations of a CEO. In an intense and often combative exchange, the two debate fundamental issues faced by all leaders-issues involving personal integrity and effectiveness in the ongoing struggle for success. While some of these topics have been bandied about in the leadership literature for years, here they actually begin to make sense.
Refreshingly original and utterly compelling, Andrew's story (written to be read in one sitting) will be enjoyed, remembered, and reread for years to come. It serves as a timeless and potent reminder that success as a leader can come down to practicing a few simple behaviors-behaviors that are painfully difficult for each of us to master.

In an intense and often combative exchange, the two debate fundamental issues faced by all leaders-issues involving personal integrity and effectiveness in the ongoing struggle for success. While some of these topics have been bandied about in the leadership literature for years, in The Five Temptations of a CEO they actually begin to make sense.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A must read for all leaders, not just CEOs. Take it from someone whohas been tempted. Better than a personal coach." (Boyd Clark, president and CEO, The Tom Peters Group)

"Pat Lencioni delivers a provocative message: CEOs mainly havethemselves to blame when things go wrong. If you're a CEO (or any manager for that matter), do you have the courage to face the blame? Doing so could change your future-for the better." (Dr. Jerry Porras, co-author, Built To Last; professor, Stanford School of Business)

"A truly enjoyable story. I found myself immediately trying to decidewhether I had fallen victim to the temptations. I think most executiveswill be able to recognize parts of themselves in this well-written,enlightened book!" (Ellyn McColgan, president, Fidelity Investments Tax Exempt Services Co.)

"This book provides extraordinary insight into the pitfalls that leadersface when they lose sight of the true measure of success-results. Thismodel is required reading for my staff." (Dr. Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO, Novell Corporation)

Library Journal
This tape presents the story of Andrew, a CEO, and the five temptations he faces in management. The central part of the work is a quirky dream. Very simplified, the temptations are putting self first, wanting to be liked rather than to lead, making decisions reluctantly, elevating harmony above productive argument, and not trusting subordinates. The author's discussions at the end of the story help clarify the main points, and the narration is nicely done by Boyd Gaines. Some of the ideas are good, but the advice is not consistently insightful. Recommended only for libraries with large management collections.--Mark Guyer, Stark Cty. Dist. Lib., Canton, OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787944339
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Series: J-B Lencioni Series , #11
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.59 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

PATRICK LENCIONI is president of The Table Group, a San Francisco Bay Area management consulting firm. In addition to his work as an executive coach and consultant, Pat has also written a number of screenplays. Previously he held key positions at Sybase and Oracle. He began his career at Bain & Company. Over the years, Pat has worked with hundreds of executive teams and CEOs-all victims, at one time or another, of the five temptations.
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Read an Excerpt

Andrew



Andrew O'Brien hadn't been the last person to leave the offices of Trinity Systems for the past five years. In fact, he hadn't stayed past midnight since taking the job of CEO.

As he stared out the picture window from his office above San Francisco, he wondered how it had come to this.

Tomorrow would be the one-year anniversary of Andrew's promotion. It would also be the first board meeting in which he would be accountable for the results of an entire fiscal year. Those results, as he had grown accustomed to saying, were "unspectacular at best."

But the results didn't bother Andrew as much as his state of mind did. Lately, he wasn't comfortable walking the halls of his company. He didn't feel at ease leading his own executive staff meetings. And certainly he wasn't looking forward to meeting with the board tomorrow. They probably wouldn't be too tough on him, he thought, but they wouldn't be patting him on the back either.

Andrew O'Brien could not deny that he was at a low point in his tenure as CEO, a point he never expected to reach so soon.

And then things got worse.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction.

The Fable.

The Model: A Summary of Why Executives Fail.

Self- Assessment.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2008

    A reviewer

    This is over-written tripe in the form of a fable. The author ought not to have ventured into 'fiction'. Stick with what he knows, which is summed up in a few pages at the end of the book. This was written for readers with ADD. Hype without substance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2001

    Overcome Your Misconceptions About Leadership

    Every new CEO should read this book, in order to avoid becoming misfocused away from the task at hand. In essence, this book teaches how complacency can undermine leadership. My main quibble with the book is that you are given the sense that avoiding the 5 temptations is all that you have to do to get great results. From the perspective of creating outstanding success, I found BUILT TO LAST to be a much more helpful book on the key lessons of organizational success for CEOs. .... I personally also think that CEOs have to overcome the 7 most common organizational stalls -- tradition, bureaucracy, disbelief, unattractiveness, communication, procrastination, and misconception that provide the 'Leaning Tower of Complacency' that really harms organizations. You also need better management processes. .... I do hope you will enjoy this book, and use it to help you overcome your misconceptions about the necessary elements of leadership. Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2000

    The best book on Management I have ever read

    This is a fast, easy read that provides great insight into the skills required to be a great executive.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 1999

    DON'T BE A VICTIM OF THE FIVE TEMPTATIONS

    This book is written in the style of 'the one minute CEO', with the idea that if the CEO falls to these temptations, he or she will not be CEO for long? The fable brings out many interesting insights. In fact, I thought the fable was a better learning tool than the summary at the end because the complexity of many CEO responsibilities came through during the fable. The idea that CEOs get weighed down in minutia is accurate. A large and well-respected chemical company hired a statistician about four years ago to follow the executive team around to watch how they spent their time. The result was that 85% of what they did was react to blips rather than important trends. THE FIVE TEMPTATIONS OF A CEO reminds me of the stalls that all managers face because of the inherent culture of so many of our companies. In fact, being tempted by accuracy over clarity was the problem for our chemical friends. This is the Communications Stall. Make sure people know and understand what they should be doing. Being tempted by status rather than pursuing results (Temptation 1) is related to The Disbelief Stall (How can I not succeed!). And the Bureaucratic Stall fosters the temptation of harmony rather than healthy disagreement, because it is easier to hide behind policies and practices. Eliminating stalls and ensuring good communication lead to alternatives the discussions, which are requirements for a better future. You can learn more about how to overcome these stalls by reading an excellent companion book, The 2,000 Percent Solution.

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