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5.0 out of 5 stars I liked it so much...
... I had our Executive Leadership Team read and discuss it. Our SLT is a relatively new team, most of us have together less than two years. Four Obsessions has given us a framework to discuss how we can better function as a team and provide the necessary leadership to our organization.
Published 11 months ago by John Ratz

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging the head at a heart level...
A simple yet intriguing story that had me hooked from the beginning. As I read with eagerness and anticipation the plights of Rich O'Conner and Vince Green I awaited to discover the "Four Obsessions". Lencioni is a fabulous and effective story teller. He uses story to help the reader experience the emotions of the scenario. This is powerful because all too often...
Published on Jan. 6 2003 by Ruth Varney


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5.0 out of 5 stars I liked it so much..., Aug. 8 2013
By 
John Ratz (Cambridge, ON) - See all my reviews
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... I had our Executive Leadership Team read and discuss it. Our SLT is a relatively new team, most of us have together less than two years. Four Obsessions has given us a framework to discuss how we can better function as a team and provide the necessary leadership to our organization.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging the head at a heart level..., Jan. 6 2003
By 
Ruth Varney (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
A simple yet intriguing story that had me hooked from the beginning. As I read with eagerness and anticipation the plights of Rich O'Conner and Vince Green I awaited to discover the "Four Obsessions". Lencioni is a fabulous and effective story teller. He uses story to help the reader experience the emotions of the scenario. This is powerful because all too often leadership books focus on communicating with the head in isolation. Lencioni beautifully captures both the head and heart of the reader. I felt the anguish and aspirations experienced by the two main characters, while at the same time found myself in my head, problem solving, working out what I thought the issues were.
To my dismay, the revealing of the "Four Obsessions": 1. Build and maintain a cohesive leadership team; 2. Create organizational clarity; 3. Over-communicate organizational clarity; 4. Reinforce organizational clarity through human systems, fell short of expectations. Simply yet profound, truth often falls short of our expectations because we expect deeply profound and complicated answers to issues of relational concern.
I believe this is an excellent tool to begin conversations of organizational health and wellbeing with leaders that may not be readily open to this. I would recommend it to leaders at any level of an organization who are struggling with problems and are unaware the true nature of there issue begins with relationships.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Obviously, not all obsessions are productive and beneficial, Jan. 21 2008
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
This is one in a series of "leadership fables" in which Patrick Lencioni shares his thoughts about the contemporary business world. His characters are fictitious human beings rather than anthropomorphic animals, such as a tortoise that wins a race against a hare or pigs that lead a revolution to overthrow a tyrant and seize control of his farm.

In this instance, Lencioni focuses on a common business problem for or challenge to leaders: How to identify "a reasonable number of issues that will have the greatest possible impact on the success of [their] organization, and then spend most [their] time thinking about, talking about, and working on those issues." Presumably Lencioni agrees with Stephen Covey (among others) that executives tend to spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important. Of course, that sets a bad example for their direct reports. Viewed another way, some obsessions are productive...others are not. Extraordinary executives know the differences between the two types.

Here's the fictitious situation. Lencioni introduces CEOs of two rival firms in the Bay Area, Vince Green (Greenwich Consulting) and Rich O'Connor (Telegraph Partners) who have quite different obsessions: Green's are best revealed within the book's narrative; Green's are directly or indirectly the result what could be described as Greenwich Consulting's organizational inferiority complex insofar as Telegraph Partners is concerned. There is an early and significant development when O'Connor - struggling to cope with the pressures of trying to balance his family and his successful but demanding business - experiences what Lencioni characterizes as an "epiphany": the recognition of four basis activities ("disciplines, really") that guide and inform his leadership of Telegraph Partners thereafter. "He never certainly suspected that [his list of what become leadership obsessions] would become the blue-print of an employee's plan to destroy the firm."

Almost immediately, it becomes obvious that a new hire, Jamie Bender, "didn't seem to share the hunger and humility of his colleagues" at Telegraph Partners and that is a key point for reasons also best revealed within Lencioni's narrative. Recognizing the mistake, O'Connor must decide how to correct it. Over time, he and his colleagues become infected by what Lencioni describes as a "virus." What then happens - and does not happen - throughout the ensuing weeks allow Lencioni to dramatize both the importance of the four "obsessions of an extraordinary executive" to which the title of his book refers and the consequences when any one of them is compromised. He is a brilliant business thinker but he also possesses the skills of a master raconteur, introducing a cast of characters, conflicts between and among them, and then allowing "rising action" build to a climax (i.e. resolution) also best revealed within the narrative.

Of special interest to me is a conversation between Bender and Green when Bender explains each of the four disciplines with which O'Connor is obsessed. This conversation occurs late in the narrative and indicates that Bender understands the four disciplines and yet is unwilling and/or unable to master and then follow them. (This strikes me as an excellent example of what Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton characterize as the "Knowing-Doing Gap.") Bender's explanation seems somewhat didactic to me but, nonetheless, serves as a means by which Lencioni can summarize his key points. He adds a nice dramatic touch when O'Connor appears at Green's office and there is a brief encounter between him and Bender before he and Green meet. Although they and other executives are fictitious characters, each is credible as a human being rather than as a literary device.

As is Lencioni's custom in each of the other volumes in the series of "leadership fables," he then provides an "Organizational Health: The Model" section and supplementary material (Pages 139-180) whose value-added benefits will help his reader to make effective application of the lessons learned from the experiences shared by Rich O'Connor and his colleagues at Telegraph Partners as well as from what Vince Green finally realizes about himself and about the consequences of his own obsessions.

Those who share my high regard for this volume are urged to check out Patrick Lencioni's other "leadership fables" as well as Michael Ray's The Highest Goal, David Maister's Practice What You Preach, Bill George's Authentic Leadership and his more recently published True North, James O'Toole's Creating the Good Life, and Michael Maccoby's Narcissistic Leaders.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read!, March 1 2004
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
This is a good book for people who like parables. The fable centers around an unfocused man swamped by rivalry, envy, manipulation and betrayal. He never sees that his most threatening rival, though not as flashy as he is, has the stick-to-it commitment of a carnival pony that would continue walking the same tight circle even if someone took off its harness. To succeed, you need that kind of persistence plus a few straightforward disciplines including internal unity, clear purpose, open communication and personnel policies that reflect your values. In short, if you pick key disciplines and stick to them, you'll go far. You've heard this sweet if shallow lesson before, in the fable of the tortoise and the hare. That fable endured for centuries because it puts a simple truth in a few words using a vivid analogy. That is the kind of veracity this book is aiming for and though it may achieve a shorter reach, its wrap-up analysis and work sheets extend its practicality. We recommend its bolstering message - if not its simplistic structure - to managers who like metaphors.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read!, Jan. 30 2004
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
This is a good book for people who like parables. The fable centers around an unfocused man swamped by rivalry, envy, manipulation and betrayal. He never sees that his most threatening rival, though not as flashy as he is, has the stick-to-it commitment of a carnival pony that would continue walking the same tight circle even if someone took off its harness. To succeed, you need that kind of persistence plus a few straightforward disciplines including internal unity, clear purpose, open communication and personnel policies that reflect your values. In short, if you pick key disciplines and stick to them, you'll go far. You've heard this sweet if shallow lesson before, in the fable of the tortoise and the hare. That fable endured for centuries because it puts a simple truth in a few words using a vivid analogy. That is the kind of veracity this book is aiming for and though it may achieve a shorter reach, its wrap-up analysis and work sheets extend its practicality. We recommend its bolstering message - if not its simplistic structure - to managers who like metaphors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Neglected, Vital Focuses of Executives, June 3 2003
By 
rodboomboom (St. Louis, Missouri United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
Lencioni communicates through storytelling. Here, he unravels his four focuses of extraordinary executives by comparing two competitive CEO in consulting.
By reducing the difference in the two enterprises to the two differing, contrasting focus styles, the author makes a strong case for spending more time on the "organizational health."
This is where most will blow this vital area off. There ego and temperament is drawn to other areas, technology, strategy, etc.
These four of a healthy organization: cohesive leadership team, organizational clarity, communicate this clarity and reinforce such clarity through human systems.
Much to chew on, digest and see if it's worth trying.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing..., April 27 2003
By 
James (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
Patrick does it again. I've used these books for MBA classes, CFO roundtables and management retreats. Highly recommend to anyone considering managing a venture-backed business.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The heart of leadership., Dec 11 2002
By 
Angel Mehta (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
This book is a must-read for CEO's, venture partners, and executives that have any interest in improving themselves as leaders. I've given it often as a gift, and more often as a survival tip.
Angel Mehta
Managing Director
Sterling-Hoffman Executive Search
...
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, July 30 2002
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This review is from: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
An extremely interesting fable narrating the success techniqes adopted by an extraordinary executive. A 'must read' for all open-minded company chiefs who aspire to take their team and their company to greater heights using simple but effective management principles.
The author definitely excels in the art of story telling which makes the book readable and leaves the reader with plenty of food for thought. The central character in the book, Rich O'Connor, lists his four mantras on a piece of yellow paper taped to his desk such that he is constantly reminded about observing them strictly all the time. It is these four obsessions that confirm his strong sense of commitment to his company -The Telegraph making it a cut above the competition.The message driven home is rather than being obsessed with what your competitor is doing, concentrate on what you have to do to reach and retain the Number 1 slot in your industry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great one, June 23 2002
By 
Jerald A. Golley (Lakewood, CO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
All three of Pat Lencioni's books are awesome. This one is no different. The simplicity of his message and the foundations of good business make the book easy to apply to my real world. I love this book.
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The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable
The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni (Hardcover - Aug. 24 2000)
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