“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Trust” – Patrick Lencioni

“Consensus is a Four Letter Word”

are you running productive meetings?

Meetings are a challenge to say the least. We need them (at least the right meetings) to do our work, but we do them so poorly that we mostly detest them! So often if feels like a no-win scenario. However, it doesn’t have to be this way at all.

Patrick Lencioni has a great book out on how to do effective meetings entitled “Death By Meeting” and has some great resources on his website.

I also came across this article, “What Everyone Needs to Know About Running Productive Meetings“, today on the Harvard Business Review website that has some good pointers for how to actually have interesting and productive meetings.

Meeting Tree by Elizabeth Grace Saunders


Some interesting points from the article:

1. First the question – “Are you addicted to meetings?” Great question!

2. Shorten the meeting times. Don’t default to an hour “just because” or because it’d the default setting on your Outlook

3. Create a focused agenda

4. Limit attendees to who absolutely needs to be there

5. Stay on track!

6. Manage the attendees – don’t allow one or two people to dominate

7. Set the right tone

8. Define next steps and responsibilities

Some good points here and several echo what Patrick Lencioni has written. Meetings are an important part of work. Doing meetings well is an important leader and manager skill and well worth you learning how to do them well!!



Michael Hyatt’s Interview of Patrick Lencioni on Organizational Health

Michael Hyatt’s of Patrick Lencioni on Organizational Health

In this backstage interview at the Chick-fil-A Leadercast 2012, I asked Patrick M. Lencioni about corporate culture and how leaders can use it to drive performance. His new book, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business, is focused on this topic.

This would be a great interview to watch with your team, take notes, and then discuss. There are few things more important than intentionally creating your organization’s culture.

How Do I Fit Here?

Good Monday morning to you! This weekend a good friend of mine posted on Facebook his opinion that naps ought to be a required part of the first week of daylight savings time. After getting up this morning with my body clock at odds with my alarm clock I think he may be on to something.

How important is it for you to know how you fit within your organization? Does it help you to have clarity regarding how your role The Four Obsessionsadvances the mission of your organization? Does it help you to know just how it is that you add value to your organization?

For most of us, it does matter. We don’t want to just be a cog in a large machine. Most of us want to do things that matter and we want to know just how it is that we advance the mission of our organization. And so do the people we lead.

Creating clarity is a key role of a leader. A particularly important area where we need to create clarity is just how the people we lead contribute to the overall mission of our organizations. They need to know that what they do is valuable and they need to know how and why it is valuable. You need to be able to “connect the dots” for them from what they do to the overall mission. This is a hugely important aspect of a leader’s role that is often overlooked. Sometimes we even forget just how important the people are to the mission of the organization. (NOTE: Check out Patrick Lencioni’s book The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive for a good read on creating organizational clarity.)

So take time today and think about the people you have the privilege of leading and how vital they are to your organization (yes – even the ones that irritate you!) and then take the time to begin telling them just how they fit and how important they are to the organization.

Hope you have a great week and maybe you will have the opportunity to catch a couple of naps!

Trust is the Key

“Absence of Trust – This occurs when team members are reluctant to be vulnerable with one another and are unwilling to admit their mistakes, weaknesses or needs for help. Without a certain comfort level among team members, a foundation of trust is impossible.” – Patrick Lencioni

Trust is absolutely foundational to the effective operations of a leadership team. You can try all the gimmicks, bring in consultants  give orders and so on, but if the members of your leadership team do not have this level of trust, it will always be less than it could or should be.

Watch this quick video from Pat on trust:

So take the time and do the hard work needed to build trust on your team – it is worth the effort!Workbook


The First Step to Organizational Health

After two decades of working with CEOs and their teams of senior executives, I’ve become absolutely convinced that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre or unsuccessful ones has little, if anything, to do with what they know or how smart they are; it has everything to do with how healthy they are.”* – Patrick Lencioni, The AdvantageThe Advantage Book

Like I once did, you might have thought that what really made the difference between organizations was innovation, creativity, “smarts”, great strategy, marketing and so on. Not so according to Mr. Lencioni. And from my experience (not nearly as extensive as Mr. Lencioni’s!) I completely agree. I have encountered so many organizations from companies, to churches, to non-profits that have great, smart, talented. passionate people and they are operating like they are in quicksand. What is lacking is organizational health – they are dysfunctional in much the same way some families are dysfunctional.

Additionally, after becoming immersed in the culture of my new employer, Ambassador Enterprises, I have an even deeper understanding of the importance of organizational health. At Ambassador, we have some core “sayings” such as, Relational Effectiveness Drives Organizational Performance and one of our core goals is creating A Community That Cares and A Team That Performs. Notice that “A Community That Cares” comes before “A Team That Performs”. That order / priority is very intentional and very important. We are very focused on organizational health and as a result it is a community that cares and is a high performing team of professionals!

Mr. Lencioni states that there is an important first step to a healthy organization – a cohesive leadership team. He goes on to say, “The first step a leadership team has to take if it wants the organization it leads to be healthy—and to achieve the advantages that go with it—is to make itself cohesive. There’s just no way around it. If an organization is led by a team that is not behaviorally unified, there is no chance that it will become healthy.”*

And at Ambassador, we would go on to say that if you want a healthy leadership team, you need individual leaders who are healthy. You need leaders with high Emotional Intelligence, who are mature individuals, and who care deeply about community.

Is your organization healthy? Why not? What are the dysfunctions you are seeing? How can you help your organization become healthy?  How about you? What are your opportunities to grow and become a healthier leader?

Today – resolve to become healthier and stronger. Quit struggling in the quicksand. Get out and make a difference.


*Lencioni, Patrick M. (2012-08-21). The Advantage, Enhanced Edition: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business (pp. 8-9, 19). Jossey-Bass. Kindle Edition.

What is THE Most Important Trait of a Leader?

Good morning – would you be interested in learning what is one of the most important traits of a leader?  It has been found to be absolutely vital to effective leadership by both Christian and secular leadership “experts”.

Business authors such as Jim Collins (Good to Great), Patrick Lencioni (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team) and others agree on this point.  Christian authors such Crawford Loritts and Oswald J Sanders also agree that this trait is vital.

The antithesis of this trait is also the cause of the downfall of most leaders.

Humility is key to success as a leader – pride is a sure path to a leader’s downfall.

Click here to read a powerful piece by Patrick Lencioni on this vital trait of leaders.

Remember, as leaders you are called to serve and shepherd – not command and dictate.

Blessings – BG

Four Types of Meetings

Meetings – the word makes most of us cringe, and with good reason. As I mentioned Monday, meetings poorly done can be crippling to your organization.  However, good meetings can propel you forward, the problem is, most of us don’t know what a good meeting looks like!

Patrick Lencioni in his great book Death by Meeting addresses how we can become better at this very important tool.  One thing he does is to help s understand that there are different types of meetings for different purposes.  For example, he gives us four types of meetings:

1. The Daily Check-In: this is a 5 – 10 minute stand up meeting where you & your direct reports quickly go over the plans for the day. Usually done every day or most days.

2. Weekly Tactical Meeting: usually 45 – 90 minutes where you review weekly activities and metrics and deal with tactical obstacles / issues.

3. Monthly strategic: usually 2 – 4 hours in length where you discuss, brainstorm and decide on strategic issues that impact long-term success.

4. Quarterly Off-site Reviews: usually 1 – 2 days in length where you go into depth reviewing and adjusting your strategy as well as the development of leaders.

If you want to get better at meetings, take some time to pick up and read Death by Meeting – you will be glad you did so.