Patrick Lencioni


American Business Consultant, Author, Founder and President of The Table Group

Author Quotes

Members of trusting teams accept questions and input about their areas or responsibility, appreciate and tap into one another?s skills and experiences, and look forward to meetings and other opportunities to work as a group.

Research shows people have to hear things seven times before they believe it.

The impact of organizational health goes far beyond the walls of a company, extending to customers and vendors, even to spouses and children. It sends people to work in the morning with clarity, hope, and anticipation and brings them home at night with a greater sense of accomplishment, contribution, and self-esteem. The impact of this is as important as it is impossible to measure.

To violate your core value is to ask you to sell your soul.

You cannot love your work if you feel irrelevant.

I wish organizational health were a standard.

Money is a satisfier. They need enough to make them happy. Measure drivers.

Shouldn?t the real measure of an idea, system or approach to a problem be whether it actually works or not? For many executives who are enamored with sophistication, that isn?t enough. Often, they seem disappointed by simple but effective solutions to seemingly complex problems. I think one reason for that disappointment is that simple solutions usually require discipline and hard work over time, while the sophisticated ones seem like shiny silver bullets, capable of making a problem go away in one innovative shot. And it can be disconcerting, after years of studying and reading and learning, to come to the realization that success comes down to common sense and discipline. I certainly understand why many of us are so attracted to innovation and sophistication. After all, that is where most of our media and academic community focus their attention. Simple, workable solutions to problems don?t generally provoke magazine cover stories, journal articles in business schools, or features on the nightly news. But they do make for successful companies, informed employees and loyal customers. I guess that will have to be enough for now.

The key ingredient to building trust is not time. It is courage.

Trust is the confidence among team members that their peers? intentions are good, and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group. Teammates are vulnerable with one another; they are confident that their respective vulnerabilities will not be used against them.

You have to hear something seven times before you believe it in an organization.

If you?re anonymous, minister upward to your boss.

Most companies would have described it simply as ?hard work,? and few people outside the organization knew exactly what it meant? In their case, the leaders described [it] as having no concerns about status and ego and willing to do whatever was necessary to help the company succeed. No job was beneath any employee, and even the highest-level executive had to be willing to do the most menial work if that?s what was needed. The value was so powerful that the day after the leadership team established it, one of its members decided to quit because he just didn?t see himself as being a floor sweeper. Without bitterness, he acknowledged that he had an ego and that a big part of his career was building a resum‚. He didn?t want to hold the team back by being a misfit.

Simply put, the three signs of a miserable job are irrelevance, anonymity, and immeasurability. If an employee can't identify the specific importance of their job to another human being, if they believe no one in their workplace knows them or cares about them as a person, or if they don't know - and can't apply themselves -- the standards by which success in their job is measured, they likely have a miserable job. [paraphrase]

The kind of trust that is necessary to build a great team is what I call vulnerability-based trust. Members? are completely comfortable with being transparent, honest, and naked with one another? they say and genuinely mean things like ?I screwed up,? ?I need help,? ?Your idea is better than mine,? ?I wish I could learn to do that as well as you do,? and even, ?I?m sorry.?

Trust is the foundation of real teamwork (there is nothing touchy-feely about this).

You?ve got to step back from your job enough to realize that this management job we all have is a ministry. We are here to make a difference in these people?s lives. The good news is in a capitalist economy that actually drives the bottom line. But more importantly, if we are in a position to influence someone?s self-esteem, the way they treat their family and their friends and their kids, then why in the world wouldn?t we take the time to do that? And we all know, I?ve had nobody debate with me the impact of having a manager really take an interest in a person. Now if we?re a manager that just can?t do that, or doesn?t understand the need for it, or doesn?t feel like doing it, then I strongly recommend that that person consider being an individual contributor. Because managing is its own vocation. And if we don?t see that, then we owe it to ourselves and certainly to the people we lead, to let somebody else do the managing.

If you?re the leader of a team, go back and start by ensuring team members trust one another and are comfortable engaging in open conflict around issues. There is no substitute for trust?it begins with the willingness of team members to open themselves up to one another and admit their weaknesses and mistakes. In addition, any individual, whether an executive or a line employee, can impact a team in either a positive or negative way. Without holding one another accountable, even the best-intentioned team members can create dysfunctions within a team.

Most of the companies I have encountered over the years seem addicted to having a long list of "top" priorities. As a result, they're unable to focus on any one of them out of fear that doing so will somewhat increases the likelihood that others will fall by the wayside. And so, the vast majority of these organizations end up peanut-buttering their energy and attention across so many different activities that none of them seem to be any more imperative than another. Hence the phrase, "if everything is important, then nothing is." Managers and employees alike are left scratching their heads as they try to decipher where to focus their limited time and resources, ultimately defaulting to whatever activity is most urgent or most tactically relevant to their isolated jobs. I've found that the best way to demonstrate the problem ? and illustrate a solution ? is to start close to home. In fact, at home itself.

Six Critical Questions - Why do we exist? How do we behave? What can we actually do? How do we succeed? What is most important in our organization right now? Who must do what?

The person in charge of an organization?s leadership team is crucial to the success of any effort to build a healthy organization.

Two requirements for organizational success: (1) You need to be smart about strategy, marketing, finance, technology etc. But while this is only half the equation, it gets 98 percent of the attention. (2) You also need to be healthy. A healthy organization has minimal politics, minimal confusion, high morale, high productivity, and low turnover (good people rarely leave a healthy organization). It turns out that being smart is pretty easy, hence the disproportionate focus on this area. But being healthy offers the greatest opportunity for organizational improvement and competitive advantage.

If your team can?t mimic you when you?re not around, you?re not doing a good job communicating.

Most of us say our family is the most important thing in our life, yet we spend most of our time planning, strategizing, etc. at work and not at home. You need to put the same effort into your family that you give to your job.

So, how do you begin the process of building a healthy organization? There are four key disciplines. (1) Build a cohesive leadership team. The leaders of any group, be it a company, department, school, church, etc., need to be behaviorally cohesive. (2) At the same time, you need to create clarity. The leaders have to be on the same page, they need to be completely aligned. (3) You need to over-communicate the clarity. Note that it?s not about over-communicating in general, you need to over-communicate the clarity. (4) You need to reinforce clarity. You must put just enough human systems in place to hire, reward, and manage effectively.

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American Business Consultant, Author, Founder and President of The Table Group