The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Review
  Patrick Lencioni wrote The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable in 2002. The popular book is about imaginary company Decision Tech, and how a new CEO turned the company around. The CEO, Kathryn, molded her senior managers into a true team by addressing five dysfunctions she observed. Much of the fable focuses on a series of senior leadership retreats where Kathryn helps her team learn and address the dysfunctions. The book is a quick read and the easy-to-follow plot will appeal to readers of fiction. This Lean East blog post focuses on the final several chapters of the book (the non-fiction section) where the five team dysfunctions are summarized. Do any of these issues occur on your leadership team?   Dysfunction No. 1: An Absence of Trust…
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Juggling Elephants

Juggling Elephants

Review
  The book Juggling Elephants: An Easier Way to Get Your Most Important Things Done--Now! was written in 2007 by corporate trainers Jones Loflin and Todd Musig. The short read tells the story of a man named Mark visiting the circus with his daughter. Mark meets a ringmaster there who shares the analogy of life as a circus. “Sometimes does it feel like you are juggling elephants?” he asks Mark. The circus performance in the book takes place in three separate rings under the tent. The ringmaster schedules the acts for the circus and introduces the audience to each performer. While one act is performing, another ring is typically cleaning up from an act or setting up for the next act. The goal for the ringmaster is to have a…
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Team of Teams

Team of Teams

Review
  Retired US General Stanley McChrystal was frustrated. The US battle against the jihadist militant group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraqi and Syria) after the US occupation of Iraq was not going well. ISIS always seemed to be a step ahead of his forces. His forces took too long to process and act on intelligence – by the time the location of an ISIS cell was acted upon the location had long been abandoned. McChrystal was learning that the network structure of ISIS allowed them to adapt more quickly than US forces to avoid capture. While the US had overwhelming resources and a disciplined command-and-control structure, ISIS operated much faster – more like a group of separate franchises with a common purpose.   Command Structures The US Military in the…
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Coaching and The Art of Possibility

Coaching and The Art of Possibility

Lesson
  Much of our support at Lean East involves coaching leaders and teams as they improve their processes. But what is coaching? Here are six traits of good coaching and some examples from the book The Art of Possibility.   Six Traits of Good Coaching Coaches focus on people and drive results. Coaching is not the same as teaching or mentoring. Teachers impart their skills and wisdom to others. Mentors share lessons based on their experience. Coaches unlock potential in the participant and help them discover their own solutions. Coaches share alignment and establish trust. The mission and goal must be agreed upon by the participant and coach. The participant and coach also need to have mutual trust for one another. Learn more about trust at this post. Coaches ask…
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Radical Candor

Radical Candor

Review
  This is a summary of the 2017 book, Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity, by Kim Scott. Ms. Scott describes leadership lessons she learned while working in Silicon Valley for Google, Apple, and start-up companies. Her former boss at Google (and an accomplished author herself) Sheryl Sandberg writes, “Radical Candor will help you inspire teams to do the best work of their lives.” Great bosses have strong relationships with their employees. Three simple principles for building better employee relationships are: Make it personal Get (sh)it done Understand why it matters Scott shares the concept of Radical Candor on a 2X2 grid with one axis how much you care personally about the person and the other axis how much you challenge directly. Scott names each of the…
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Immunity to Change

Immunity to Change

Review
Immunity to Change: How to Overcome it and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization is a 2009 book written by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey. It has updated examples of their experience using their immunity to change concepts first introduced in their 2001 book, How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work. This book was recently recommended by another experienced improvement consultant. Since I was unfamiliar with the book and change process, I decided to learn the process and share key points with my friends and colleagues. I typically work with teams and organizations, not individuals, and have not used the immunity to change process myself. It does provide a path to understanding root cause, so I see reasons why it could work well…
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Leaders Eat Last

Leaders Eat Last

Review
In our previous posts, we have discussed the importance of having a clear reason to change and explained that organizational culture and history matters when establishing a sense of urgency. Now we will look at some of the reasons why this is the case, truly “evolutionary” reasons related to our brain. Thanks to the trial-and-error process of evolution taking place over the past two-and-a-half million years, human brains have adapted to survive. In the 2014 book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, author Simon Sinek explains why a feeling of safety is necessary whether we are a caveman or an assistant in a large corporation. Sinek discusses five chemicals that our body has designed for evolutionary reasons that still impact all of us every day.…
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An American Sickness

An American Sickness

Review
An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back is a 2017 book by Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal about the US business of healthcare. Dr. Rosenthal identifies the motives of the profit-takers in the US healthcare market and learned behaviors of the marketplace. Many of her real-life stories and examples leave the reader frustrated in the system. I found most of the book focused on the problems that have developed in the US healthcare market. The book did not have many new answers for fixing the system, but Dr. Rosenthal did offer several great actions one should take as an informed consumer. Ten economic rules are referenced throughout the book:   Dr. Rosenthal shares many shocking examples for these rules throughout the book. She breaks…
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Start with Why

Start with Why

Review
This month we discuss the 2009 book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. In this favorite book of many leaders, Sinek asks why some companies are able to achieve things that defy all the assumptions. For example, why is Apple so innovative? Why did the Wright Brothers achieve flight before their better funded, better qualified competition? Sinek believes that the great and inspiring leaders and organizations all think, act and communicate in the same way – and it is the opposite of everyone else. All leaders and organizations know WHAT they do (the product or service) and some know HOW they do it (the “differentiating value proposition,” “proprietary process” or “unique selling proposition.”) Very few companies can clearly articulate WHY they do…
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Leadership Lessons from Toyota

Leadership Lessons from Toyota

Review
This is part of an ongoing series of organizational and personal improvement book reviews. If you have read the book already use this as a reminder of key lessons. If you have not read the book and are looking to learn and grow as a leader, this summary will share some of our favorite quotes. Lean East recently read How Toyota Became #1: Leadership Lessons from the World’s Greatest Car Company, a book by journalist David Magee published in 2008. The book was written to review the history of Toyota’s growth from a Japanese start-up to the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. Magee interviewed many of Toyota’s senior executives to write the book and became amazed at the differences between Toyota and other auto companies. During his research, he realized…
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