Issue No. 344 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting quotes Patrick Lencioni: "If no one is leaving or being asked to leave, then we're probably not truly living these values." And this reminder: click here to check out my 20 management buckets (core competencies).
Step 2. Hand-deliver the book, along with a Starbucks card, to each of my direct reports, with this assignment: "Invest up to four hours at Starbucks this week—and read this important book. It's likely the most team-transforming exercise we’ll do together this year."
Step 3. Schedule a half-day off-site team meeting (for next week) to discuss "How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues” (the book’s sub-title).
Step 4. Facilitate the senior team meeting (or invite a facilitator to do the honors) and get buy-in and commitment (a la Lencioni's pyramid). Assign next steps.
Step 5. Step back and watch your culture transform as you articulate three virtues: Humble, Hungry, and People Smart.
Wow! Patrick Lencioni has done it again! This is one powerful book--and maybe his funniest. In his classic "leadership fable" format (example: Death by Meeting), Lencioni delivers a page-turning business story. New CEO. Two direct reports. Massive dysfunction. New hires needed yesterday. (Sound familiar?)
But there's another problem: the top three leaders cannot define the "ideal team player” qualities. (Can you?) Half of the people they hire either quit or are terminated. Finally…finally, they agree on one virtue:
"Maybe our new slogan should be
'no jackasses allowed.'
That would make a great poster."
So, in search of more acceptable lingo and meaning, the leadership triad lands on Humble, Hungry, and Smart. Lencioni defines these virtues in the final 60 pages (The Model and application), worth the price of the book.
HUMBLE: "Great team players lack excessive ego or concerns about status." He adds, "Humility is the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player."
HUNGRY: "Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent."
SMART: "Smart simply refers to a person's common sense about people."
Caution #1: What if you settle for just one out of three? Or, if you're fortunate, two out of three virtues? After all, no one's perfect.
Lencioni: "What makes humble, hungry, and smart powerful and unique is not the individual attributes themselves, but rather the required combination of all three."
His memorable labels for the "one out of three" prospects are caution enough:
Humble Only: The Pawn
Hungry Only: The Bulldozer
Smart Only: The Charmer
What About 2 Out of 3?
“The next three categories that we'll explore represent people who are more difficult to identify because the strengths associated with them often camouflage their weaknesses.
“Team members who fit into these categories lack only one of the three traits and thus have a little higher likelihood of overcoming their challenges and becoming ideal team players. Still, lacking even one in a serious way can impede the team building process.”
Caution #2: Don’t use the following labels at work—but they are perfect descriptors for your “2 out of 3” team members:
Hungry and Humble, but Not Smart: The Accidental Mess-Maker
Humble and Smart, but Not Hungry: The Lovable Slacker
Hungry and Smart, but Not Humble: The Skillful Politician
Watch out for the banana peel when you’re interviewing a candidate without humility. "Unfortunately, because they are so smart, Skillful Politicians are very adept at portraying themselves at being humble, making it hard for leaders to identify them and address their destructive behaviors."
Lencioni urges: Don't hire unless you and your team members can positively affirm a three-for-three person. I know. It's not easy, but read the book, and you'll be absolutely convinced.
Lencioni packs the last 60 pages with highly practical insights, warnings, and next steps. He lists very pragmatic ways to assess your current team members and what to do with the 0-for-3, 1-for-3, and 2-for-3 people already on your team. He gives solutions, including a helpful self-assessment with 18 questions.
See you at Starbucks!
To order from Amazon, click on the graphic below for The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues, by Patrick Lencioni.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) Lencioni quotes C.S. Lewis, "Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less." What's your definition of humility—and who models that on our team?
2) Lencioni says that "the most important part of the development process, and the part that is so often missing, is the leader's commitment to constantly 'reminding' an employee if she is not yet doing what is needed. Without this, improvement will not occur." When is the last time you've "reminded" a team member—and what was the result?
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Scott Vandeventer introduced me to the term, “management-by-bestseller”—the tendency to take the latest, greatest book and foist it on your team—without explaining how it aligns with previous books you’ve read.
Scott adds, “Some organizations get dangerously close to Management-by-Bestseller Syndrome due to a kind of corporate attention deficit disorder, probably systemic to its leadership.”
In the “Book Bucket,” Chapter 5 in Mastering the Management Buckets, I urge leaders and managers to focus on books that align with your leadership philosophy and theology. Patrick Lencioni’s latest book, The Ideal Team Player, integrates beautifully with other books I’ve recommended, such as Humility, by Andrew Murray, The One Minute Manager, by Ken Blanchard (re: reminders), and (speaking of “people smart”) last issue’s book on the four social styles.
By the way, Andrew Murray’s insights on humility will whack you between your selfies (in just 59 pages): “Humility is the only soil in which the graces root; the lack of humility is the sufficient explanation of every defect and failure.”
For more resources from the Book Bucket, including a list of book recommendations for all 20 buckets, visit the webpage.
P.S. Read John’s governance blog here on discerning the ONE thing every board must do.
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