A Brief Book Review

I’ve long been a big fan of the author, Patrick Lencioni, and so I was excited to see that he just published a new book in April.  For those less familiar, nearly all of Lencioni’s books are written in a fable format (like the One Minute Manager series) and he uses the business fable to illustrate his concepts.  I particularly like his down-to-earth style and his ability to make concepts simple and easy to understand.  His new book is called, The Ideal Team Player:  How to recognize and cultivate the three essential virtues.  I’ll use this blog to give you a quick review.

The story focuses on a leader who takes over a company at a time of great stress and challenge.  He notices that they have too many “jackasses” who are difficult for others to work with, even if some of them are very capable in their field.  It occurs to the leader that if they could somehow get everyone to work together more effectively, it would make an enormous difference.

Humble, Hungry, and Smart

Based on this recognition, the leadership team embarks on a process to identify the qualities or virtues that make some people ideal team players.  They look at all their best people and try to discover what they all have in common, and it turns out that the best ones are all “humble, hungry, and smart.”

Humble refers to the ability to check the ego at the door (a common Fundamental among our clients).  It’s the ability to put the team goals ahead of individual goals.  Hungry refers to the passion and drive to make things happen.  And smart refers not to intellectual intelligence, but rather being “people smart” – understanding how to relate to people, how you’re perceived by others, how your actions impact others, etc.

Lencioni provides helpful tools for figuring out who currently exhibits these traits, what to do about those who don’t, and how to select for these traits in the hiring process.

Hiring for culture

It’s important to note that Lencioni isn’t necessarily advocating that all companies should want the same thing.  What he is saying is that it’s critical to identify the culture you want to have, and then to be uncompromising in selecting and retaining only those who fit that culture.  Sound familiar?

As many readers may know, the 3rd step in our 8-step framework is all about selecting for culture.  We’re not going to have much luck taking people who aren’t a good fit in our culture and magically doing something to make them a fit.  This rarely works.  The implication, of course, is that we have to get really good at bringing in the right people.

If you’d like to learn more about the 8-step framework and how to improve your ability to select for culture, just give us a call or shoot us an email.

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