The Advantage

Read this book! Read this book! Read this book! Ok, I said it. This follow-up to Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team, is a great distillation of a ton of best practices for fostering organizational health. It is certainly directed at people at the top of organizations and it is possible to misapply some of the ideas (I think I certainly did), it is still a great read for people lower down the corporate ladder.

The book is broken into Lencioni’s four disciplines which really come down to just cohesion and clarity and how to achieve that. As a leadership book it is great because it is filled with best practices and ways to apply everything in your day to day life.

Favorite Idea

The section on creating clarity through a Thematic Goal was really helpful and interesting to me. This is the highest, most pressing issue that must be solved right now for the entire team. It must be singular, quantitative, temporary and shared. Though I know and completely believe the idea that “if everything is important, nothing is” I still have problems focusing on just one goal. The chapter on creating clarity gives a good process for working through a series of questions to find your Thematic goal and then have a series of Defining Objectives and Standard Operating Procedures below them to move the organization forward. This process ultimately leads to the creation of a team playbook.

The chapter also opened with a great explanation of why clarity at the top is so important. Gaps in agreement become larger the lower in the chain they go. So if two directors have a mild disagreement on what they think is supposed to happen, people a few levels below them will be on completely different pages. A singular, clear playbook will help alleviate those problems.

Favorite Quotes

Most leaders prefer to look for answers where the light is better, where they are more comfortable.

Most people are generally reasonable and can rally around an idea that wasn’t their own as long as they’ve had a chance to weigh in.

Human systems are tools for reinforcement of clarity.

Other Notes

5 Behaviors to Build a Team

  1. Build Trust
  2. Master Conflict
  3. Achieve Commitment
  4. Embrace Accountability
  5. Focus on Results

Great Meetings

  • Daily Check-ins: 5-10 min, admin
  • Weekly Staff: 45-90 minutes, tactical
  • Ad Hoc Topical: 2-4 hours, strategic
  • Quarterly Off Site: 1-2 days, developmental

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