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Silos, Politics & Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable About Destroying the Barriers that Turn Colleagues into Competitors [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Patrick Lencioni , Eric Conger
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 21 2006
"Silos" are organizations' vertical structures--but the word has become synonymous with barriers to workplace effectiveness and connotes deep political infighting. Silos devastate organizations, kill productivity, push good people out the door, and jeopardize the achievement of corporate goals. They cause stress, exasperation, and disappointment by forcing employees to fight bloody, unwinnable battles with people who should be teammates.

Like his other fables, SILOS, POLITICS, & TURF WARS is fiction in realistic form, involving not one, but three organizations, all struggling to eliminate their silos and bridge a sense of alignment back in place.

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Marketing won't speak to engineering. Sales thinks production hogs the budget. Front desk believes back room's lazy. These sorts of turf wars, which turn outwardly unified companies into groupings of uncommunicative "silos," are the stuff of management lore. According to bestselling author Lencioni (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team), "they waste resources, kill productivity and jeopardize the achievement of goals"—they also drive workers into tizzies of frustration. Like his previous books, Lencioni's latest addresses the management problem through a fictional story; this one revolves around a self-employed consultant named Jude, who has to dismantle silos at an upscale hotel, a technology company and a hospital. Split into two sections, Lencioni's book first shows Jude discovering a solution to silos, then summarizes Jude's lessons into a strategy that readers can apply to any business. Lencioni's proposal is so full of common sense—namely, end turf wars by getting departments to rally around a common goal—that managers will be eager to apply it themselves. Just as refreshing is Lencioni's use of character and plot, which is far above average for the business genre. As sympathetic as Jude is, he makes Lencioni's management lessons memorable. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"This engaging, fast-paced, dramatic story will drive home its lessons better than any textbook."
--Harvard Business Review on DEATH BY MEETING


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Five months. That's how long it look for Jude Cousins' entrepreneurial passion and excitement to fade into anxiety and panic. Read the first page
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4.0 out of 5 stars One more for the "great llist" Nov. 2 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lencioni does it again with another great read for the busy executive. The fable format makes it a fast and easy lesson on ideal state and hoe to get there
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4.0 out of 5 stars This is one that turned on the light bulb. Aug. 19 2009
Format:Hardcover
This book turned on a light bulb that has helped our group rally behind what we are really try to do with our customers, it helped us launch a workshop to get everyone facing the same direction instead of facing off with each other.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Where did all these barriers come from? March 6 2008
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
In recent years, a great deal of attention has been paid to what is generally referred to as a "business narrative" in which all manner of business concepts are presented within a story which consists of a sequential plot, a cast of characters, conflicts which generate interest and create tension, and then what is almost always a "happy ending." The best examples include Stephen Denning's Squirrel Inc., Eli Goldratt's The Agenda, and Marc Allen's Visionary Business.

After having read and then re-read it, I include Patrick Lencioni's Silos, Politics and Turf Wars among them. It is really quite entertaining as well as informative, indeed thought-provoking.

Here's the situation. Jude Cousins is a talented, energetic, and ambitious young marketing executive at Hatch Technology who, with his wife Teresa's support and encouragement, decides to leave his secure job after Hatch is purchased by Bell Financial Systems. He establishes an independent consulting practice and almost immediately obtains three clients: The Madison Hotel (San Francisco's oldest, largest, and most prestigious independent hotel), JMJ Fitness Machines (a manufacturer of high-end consumer and institutional exercise equipment), and Children's Hospital of Sacramento. Jude also agrees to help Father Ralph Colombano, pastor of Corpus Christi Church (in Walnut Hill, California) on a pro bono basis. Later, he adds his former employer as a consulting client but only after he has learned some important lessons.

One of the many challenges when writing a business narrative is to create fictional characters and relationships which are plausible.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  82 reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lencioni tackles an all too common problem in organizations. He uses his established approach of fable - then helpful advice. Feb. 10 2006
By D. Stuart - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Lencioni is quickly becoming a legend in modern business writing (publishers Jossey-Bass must rub their hands in glee every time he phones them and says he has a new title in the works,) but this is precisely because he is a smooth communicator who works outside the dry confines of academic writing. He does this by focusing on the story-telling - using fables and realistic stories to illustrate the all-to-common problems inside today's organizations.

Here he tackles a really big issue: the "silo mentality" that results in companies where 1+1+1=2 due to lost energy, time and commitment because the toughest competition comes from "the people over in engineering" or "the money people who don't understand we have to spend to get our product to market." Etc Etc.

In fact Ed Schein, who is worth checking out because he's the godfather of Organizational studies, concluded after some 45 years in the field, that organizations fundamentally break into three tribes: the engineers, the money people and the "people" people (marketing, HR etc.) He came to accept this as a reality, and advises us to work around it, live with it, instead of trying to get everyone to see everything the same way.

To his credit, Lencioni fundamentally shows the same acceptance. He doesn't lay down a single "thou shalt" template for universal values alignment within organizations - and he recognises the differences inherent within units of an organization. What he does is set up some simple rules for getting these divisions to at least pull in the same direction and focus on shared objectives.

Not all readers feel 100% comfortable with the Lencioni style. His advice always seems to come in 5s, his books each start with a fable: he sticks to a formula and he's in danger of becoming the John Grisham of management advice - too populaist and, in the end, too samey.

Fortunately he's smart enough to pack in excellent, usable advice. I'm a research consultant to organizations, and am putting this volume on my "books to give to clients" list.

This is ideal for managers at all levels, for change consultants and - as the opening fable tells it - for anyone who feels lost, thwarted or betrayed by their own organization, and can't quite identify the cause of their anxiety. If it isn't a specific issue, then its probably the structure of the place.

Recommended as a quick read, 200 pages, but with some big helpful diagnoses and problem-solving ideas. A great "pass along" book that can help bring about change.
42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The summary review of all fable books written by Patrick Oct. 31 2006
By Read to live - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The 2 stars is the average I give to all the fable books written by Patrick.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: 5 stars

Obviously, it is the best one. (you can see it from the sales record in Amazon). It was the first Patrick's book I read. I have finished reading the whole book in one setting and couldn't wait and jump to look for his other books. The book has a reasonable length, setting up a bit simplified, but not over-simplified, and still reasonable fable-like setting to illustrate all important team dysfunctions and team building skills. The whole book is tight and coherent and an easy but enlightening read. Highly recommended!

Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable 4 stars

It is a good one but not as great as the five team dysfunctions. A very good explanation of all kinds of meetings and how to use each of them. I recommend you buy one, read it and keep it as a reference. One drawback is the author tried to spicy up the book so one of the main characters will occassionally scream out some rude comments if he didn't take his pills. I never work with such an unusual person and I prefer less dramatic in a management fable. (not something like in "Desperate Housewife", the neighbor besides you was a serial killer and the housewife across the street did her gardener and used her Chinese maid to bear her baby.)

I should have stopped here and never rush to read his other books..

The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: 2 stars

This is the one made me begin to feel betrayed. If the five dysfunctions have been crafted for months, this one seems to be done within weeks. The fable setting needs more polishing works. Although the four obsessions have been presented with reasonable clariy, reading this book makes you feel that the author thinks you are an idiot. Scenarios like how the VP HR plots to damage the trust seem to be more suitable for a toddler fable rather than something for teenagers, not mentioning for managers. The rough plot affects the whole four points--though four very good points. I will recommend you to skim the whole book in less than 20 minutes by standing in a bookstore.

Five temptations of CEO 1 star?

It is the one makes me begin to feel angry. Again, if the five dysfunctions have been crafted for months, this one seems to be done within hours. The major story (95% of the book) happened in a dark train, where a poor CEO was taught about these five temptations by some ghost-like old men, who turned out later to be the previous CEOs in the SAME company! Again the five temptations are all great and worthwhile points. It is the plot that made me sick. If you have a chance, skim the whole book in less than FIVE minutes.

Silos, Politics and Turf Wars NEGATIVE 1 star

The worst one. Negative 1 star is because it wasted my time. I thought the five temptation one was the worst until I read this one. Patrick spends most of the book to illustrate the silo problems rather than provide any solution. And he even spends many pages about the main character's struggle in balancing his work and his wife's pregnancy, which I believe, should belong to another fable about personal life balance, given how many pages the author devoted to this. From other fables, more or less, you can at least learn something. But not from this one. Forget it!
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleeease write that book. The silos in this company are driving me crazy... Feb. 12 2006
By Thomas M. Loarie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Pleeease write that book. The silos in this company are driving me crazy...," so writes one of Pat Lencioni's readers after they meet.

Pat Lencioni has spent his career focused on the "heart" of organizations and identifying behaviors blocking personal and organizational excellence. Lucky for us, he has found another niche, as a best selling author, sharing his observations and remedies in fable form. His first four books - "The Five Temptations of a CEO", "The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive", "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team", and "Death by Meeting" have now sold over one million copies and are being translated into foreign languages.

With "Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars," Lencioni has tackled a perplexing problem that has frustrated humanity since the beginning of recorded time. `Silos' is a metaphor drawn from the large grain silos that one sees throughout the US Midwest. It is a term of derision that suggests that each department on an organization chart is a silo and that its stands alone, not interacting with any of the other departmental silos.

Lencioni addresses a serious problem facing most organizational leaders. A recent study by the American Management Association found 97% of executives believed `silos' have negative effects on organizations, 31% believed they have extensive destructive consequences, and 83% believed they existed in their companies.

As with earlier books, "Silos" centers on a fictional story and ends with a separate insightful analysis providing tools to help readers minimize or possibly eliminate Silos, and the aftermath (politics and turf wars), in their organizations. This book will appeal to anyone who works for or leads any organization, as well as community and political leaders.

Lencioni's "Silos" centers on Jude Cousins and what follows after his life at Hatch Technology. Cousins leaves Hatch after a merger which leaves Batch, the newco, with two heads of everything, no direction, and discontent. Soon after setting up his own shop, Cousin Consulting, Theresa, his wife, announces she is pregnant increasing the pressure for income and benefits.

Faced with twins on the way and a tanking economy, Jude quickly learns he will be unable to provide for his family as a generalist and begins to rethink his future. With the help of existing customers -The Madison Hotel where he did market positioning, JMJ Fitness Machines where he advised on reducing costs, Children's Hospital where he helped a friend transition into the role of CEO, and Sacred Heart Church - Cousins finds his niche as he observes silos and its offspring, the resultant politics and turf wars.

He becomes determined to find a solution for the problem and sets about to convince his customers, all of whom complained about `silos,' to give him a chance to implement a solution. He gets a green light from Madison Hotel first and fails in his attempt.

While at John Muir Hospital for the delivery of the twins, Cousins observes how hospital personnel from different departments serve in the ER as a cohesive team. "It was a bizarre and beautiful mix of chaos, coordination, and communication"....and, why was this not true for the entire hospital? That's when it all clicked. There were no silos in the ER, yet everyone came from different departments. Why?

Cousins then heads off to JMJ and starts to put it all together. With success in reducing silos at JMJ, he moves on to all of his customers learning new twists from each. Eventually, his success brings him back to Batch.

"Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars" will provide the reader with Cousins' learnings, and Lencioni's underlying theory and remedy. Breaching cultural barriers within an organization is a big challenge. Ultimately, it is the path of openness. In an open environment, people work towards a single goal and share information seamlessly with one another. Instead of pursuing hidden agendas, they collaborate. Instead of indulging in turf squabbles and political infighting, they work towards overarching goals. One needs to ask fundamental questions about the organization's goals, metrics, and strategies. The organization needs to know what it wants to be when it grows up. And each member of the group needs to know how they fit into the scheme of things and how they're working in relation to other groups.

This is an important new addition to the Lencioni library and a must read for all organizational leaders and all who seek personal and organizational excellence. Rapidly increasing competitive pressures from new technology, non-traditional competitors, and rapidly changing markets demand open systems where information and action can flow quickly...and where `Silos' have been sent back to the farm.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment Aug. 9 2006
By Gini Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am not sure why the author thought he had something to offer on this subject. There was no original thought or useful lessons on the topic that was promised by the title. I read this book because it was the subject of an on-line book club for public health leaders but will be much more discriminating in the future regarding the purchase of books that are recommended by this group.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Huge disappointment and overly simplistic Aug. 9 2006
By Howard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to this book as a fan of some of his earlier books, especially five dysfunctions of a team, which is one of the most elegant frameworks i've seen on team dynamics.

lencioni's solution to silos and politics? a shared goal with supporting objectives and metrics. it's a lot more complex than just that, and i'm surprised he didn't bring in some of his other work related to team dynamics and leadership, which must also be significant levers to help combat this problem.

if you're looking to solve your problem with silos and politics within your own organization, keep looking...
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