Patrick Lencioni is well-known for his business best-sellers: The Five Dysfuctions of a Team (which I introduced here last month), The Ideal Team Player, and Death by Meeting.
His last best-seller, The Advantage - Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, is the culmination and integration of his previous works. It’s one of the most comprehensive and accessible books I’ve read on the key elements of an effective organization.
In fact, many of the tools and concepts in the Scaling Up system and 7 Attributes of Agile Growth framework we use with companies are found in The Advantage.
In the book, Lencioni describes a healthy organization as one with minimal dysfunction, politics, and confusion. Instead, clarity and alignment reign, resulting in strong performance.
He argues that organizational health is the greatest advantage any business can have. And yet, it is largely ignored by business leaders.
Lencioni clearly and logically lays out the four disciplines to creating a healthy organization:
1) build a cohesive leadership team - essentially the five focus-areas described in the Five Dysfunctions of a team: trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and results;
2) create clarity - of purpose, behaviours (ie. core values), offerings, competitive strategy, priorities, performance metrics and leadership team member roles;
3) overcommunicate clarity - repeated, aligned cascading communication from leadership team members to their direct reports and down the line;
4) reinforce clarity - through human systems - every process that involves people, from hiring and people management to training, compensation and termination.
Lencioni then slips in a 5th unofficial, yet critical, discipline titled “The Centrality of Meetings”, drawing from his Death by Meetings framework. In it, he underlines that no action, activity or process is more central to a healthy organization than effective meetings, from the daily check-in (huddle) through to the quarterly off-site.
A key point in The Advantage, which may be missed or forgotten, is that the single biggest factor determining whether an organization is going to get healthier, is the genuine commitment and active involvement of the top leader - the owner-operator, CEO or president.
Book length: 240 pages, 5 hour 25 minute audio. Soundview summary: 8 pages, 21 minute audio. GetAbstract summary: 5 pages, 10 minute audio.
How can you strengthen your organization?
To find out how you can make your organization healthier to grow more easily, quickly and profitability, try our complimentary Agile Growth Checklist*. This self-service questionnaire takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete. You'll receive the checklist with your responses immediately. Within 24 hours, you'll receive a compiled report highlighting areas to improve. This report is complementary and involves no obligation.
*Many of Patrick Lencioni’s best practices are included in our Agile Growth Checklist, as well as many others developed by world-renowned business leaders, researchers and professionals.