Book Summary: The Advantage

According to Patrick Lencioni, the largest possibility for competitive advantage, author of several best-selling business tales, including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, is not about strategy, money, or marketing.

It's all about how we run our businesses. It all comes down to context, integration, and usability.

Join us over the next 10 minutes or so to see how we may benefit from it as well.

Lesson 1: Organisational Health 101

A group of team in coworking space talking and regarding each other's mental health.

The single biggest benefit any firm can attain is organizational health, according to Lencioni.

Although it is easy, free, and available to anybody who wants it, research shows that most leaders disregard it. Why? Because most business executives feel they are too clever, too busy, or too analytical to care. They have unreasonable prejudices.

Some people don't view organizational health as a benefit since it's so straightforward to achieve.

Others are in such a rush to complete that they lose interest in the process because it takes 'too long.' Organizational health isn't a glamorous subject. However, Lencioni disagrees.

Let's have a look at the advantages:

A healthy company is full, constant, and entire. Management, operations, strategy, and culture have all come together to form a cohesive whole.

Internal politics, good employee morale, high production, and minimal worker turnover are signs of a healthy organization.

Leaders of healthy organizations don't put their faith in their own intelligence. They are aware that there are things they are unaware of. Health takes precedence before arrogance.

According to Lencioni, to achieve organizational health, we must follow four disciplines, which we shall discuss in the remainder of this overview. They are as follows:

  • Build a cohesive leadership
  • Create Clarity
  • Over-communicate clarity
  • Reinforce clarity

Lesson 2: Building a Cohesive Leadership Team

A group of team working together and holding each other, building trust to climb up the cliff and achieve their end goal.

What do we mean when we say 'cohesive'?

Fundamentally, Lencioni thinks that an organization will not become healthy until headed by a behaviorally cohesive team.

A cohesive team spends a lot of time working together on issues and topics that aren't in their purview. Marketing does not limit itself to marketing, and IT does not limit itself to IT. Beyond their day occupations, they share and encourage one other. Everything hinges on mutual trust.

Cohesive teams have such a high level of trust that they reveal their weaknesses to one another.

They are willing to freely acknowledge their flaws to the team in the honest conviction that by playing to each other's strengths, the team would help them overcome them.

Cohesive teams have high emotional intelligence, which they exploit to their advantage.

Conflict is encouraged in cohesive groups. Not bitter, regretful dispute, but conflict in which assumptions are freely questioned if a team member believes they are incorrect.

Conflict becomes nothing more than the search for truth and an endeavor to find the greatest possible solution because of the team's mutual trust.

Teams that are cohesive dispute until they reach an agreement. When leaders wait for understanding before acting, they are more likely to make too-late judgments and slightly unpopular with everyone: a formula for mediocrity and dissatisfaction.

We should embrace Intel's "disagree-and-commit" mentality, according to Lencioni. Even if individuals cannot reach an agreement on a topic, they must leave the meeting with a clear commitment to a shared plan of action.

The cohesive team works together to establish a consensus. Still, if that isn't possible, everyone, doubters and believers alike, must buy-in.

Accountability is required of cohesive teams and not simply for fulfilling KPIs. A unified leadership team must be responsible for their actions. If someone crosses the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable, they must be questioned and brought back to the shared goal.

There will almost certainly be some discomfort in these situations. Still, the team's degree of togetherness and trust will ultimately triumph.

The attainment of outcomes is the ultimate goal of increasing trust, conflict, commitment, and responsibility.

As Lencioni put it, "no matter how good a leadership team feels about itself and how noble its mission might be, if the organization it leads rarely achieves its goals, then, by definition, it's simply not a good team."

Great teams make sure that everyone is doing their part to reach the shared objective. Challenge, conflict, realignment, and other corrective measures are all based on cohesion.

We've spent a lot of time on this first discipline, but the other three won't provide any results without it. Let's go over each of them one by one.

Lesson 3: Create Clarity

2 people in a team sitting on a sofa, talking and gaining clarity for the firm's future.

It's all about attaining alignment when it comes to creating clarity. It's all about generating so much clarity that there's no place for uncertainty, disorder, or infighting in the context of making an organization healthy.

All too frequently, leaders underestimate the significance of even little misalignment at the top, as well as the harm caused by modest gaps in the executive team's members.

So, how have businesses attempted to achieve clarity?

Corporate purpose statements have become a typical mechanism for achieving far less than intended. Woolly messages incorporating corporate buzzwords are common in business, although they have little influence in general. What does it mean to "achieve value"?

Or how about "world-class"? To promote clarity, very few mission statements have supplied workers with an accurate explanation of their organization's accomplishments.

According to Lencioni, leaders must provide clarity to their staff by answering six key questions.

Why do we exist?

Employees in every organization and at every level need to feel that something big and aspirational is at the core of what they do. They are more prone to act reactive, dishonest, and often inconsistent if they do not have this. The topic you serve must be identified in the purpose.

Is it the client? Is it business, community, or a larger cause? Is it for financial gain?

The leadership team must make decisions and promote people.

How do we behave?

The answer to this issue may be found in the fundamental values of a company. Without the necessity for tight line management, it expresses an organization's personality and outlines how its employees should act.

Core principles must be narrowed; if they are too broad, they will be weak.

They must establish what the company will tolerate. Put another way, if an organization endures everything, it stands for nothing, as Lencioni puts it.

What do we do?

What is your role? This is the first of the six questions in which, if you can't answer, I have no faith in your company.

What you must provide is a clear explanation of what you do. There are no adjectives or abstracts here. Simply stated, there's nothing more to it than that.

How will we succeed?

We are defining our approach by addressing this question. The solution must be a set of deliberate actions made by a firm to maximize its chances of success and differentiation from rivals.

We should determine our strategy's three most essential activities or foci by identifying everything of potential relevance to our firm and combining them into collective sets (what Lencioni refers to as strategic anchors).

What is most important right now?

Most organizations have an excessive number of top priorities, which prevents them from obtaining the greatest results.

When you focus on too much, you gain less, and your team is pushed in numerous ways. An organization must have a single top priority to generate a feeling of alignment and concentration within a set time.

How can we figure out what the answer is? Consider the following: What must be true in X months for us to be able to declare with any confidence that we had a nice period?

Who must do what?

Every organization, regardless of size, requires labor division. Without such clarity, there is a lot of room for politics and infighting.

Members of the leadership team must be aware of each other's duties and functions. They must feel at ease asking each other questions regarding their job. This must also be summarized clearly and simply and referred to and reviewed frequently.

Lesson 4: Over-communicating Clarity

A female worker receiving a call from her boss communicating repeatedly the company's strategy and next steps.

The primary emphasis after achieving clarity and alignment is communication. The main idea is that people will accept what they are told only after repeatedly hearing it.

A leader shouting to an audience from a platform may excite in the short term. Still, the message is unlikely to remain until it is heard in various settings and from a range of individuals.

Water-cooler gossip accounts for a large portion of what survives in an organization. Leaders are encouraged to spread "true rumors" through "cascading communication."

Cascading communication disseminates critical messages from the leadership team across the organization. It gives workers a fantastic chance to hear the same news from various departments, and the more we hear, the more we believe.

However, we must assist communicators in putting the information into their own words. This means that our communications must be clear and intelligible. We fear corporate whispering and misalignment of efforts if we don't.

Lesson 5: Reinforce Clarity

A female employee contacting a male worker reminding him again on the schedules and strategies that the firm has taken.

To guarantee that common alignment is ingrained, we must ensure that it impacts every human system in our organization.

What is the definition of a human system?

Even when leaders are not there to remind employees, human systems provide a structure for linking an organization's activities, culture, and management.

The alignment framework must be reflected in the hiring, firing, performance measurement, reward, training, and compensation processes. Here are a few instances of what I'm talking about. Hiring without clear and stringent criteria for cultural fit jeopardizes an organization's chances of success.

Employees may quickly understand how to contribute when they hear their leaders discuss why the organization exists and what behavioral values were utilized to pick them up throughout the recruiting process.

The goal of performance management, according to healthy organizations, is to eliminate misunderstanding. They recognize that their workers want to succeed and that the best way to do it is to provide them with clear instructions.

Employees are paid for acting properly, and compensation and reward programs are meant to remind them of what is essential.

Finally, the value of organizational health is clear yet underutilized. Early adopters will benefit from the benefits and will be able to differentiate themselves even more from their competition. Are you ready for clarity and alignment?

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