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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help for Dysfunctional Teams
Patrick Lencioni has written an exceptionally interesting fable on optimal team performance. He has prescribed guidelines for team success and applied them in an interesting, easy to read story with a twist. He has defined easy to follow principles that with practice can lead any group or team, large or small to be great.
The book begins with a story of a...
Published on Dec 3 2002 by Susan Ecker

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Five Dysfunctions of a Team - 31/2 Stars
The fictitious story used to expand on the five dysfunctions was very entertaining at the least. Ultimately, the principles outlined in the book are the utopia of teamwork. However, they are not really practical. I find myself after reading through the book still waiting for the true message on team work that I could really apply in the real world. The author does attempt...
Published on Dec 22 2003


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help for Dysfunctional Teams, Dec 3 2002
By 
Susan Ecker (Greensburg, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
Patrick Lencioni has written an exceptionally interesting fable on optimal team performance. He has prescribed guidelines for team success and applied them in an interesting, easy to read story with a twist. He has defined easy to follow principles that with practice can lead any group or team, large or small to be great.
The book begins with a story of a potentially great company with a dysfunctional executive staff. Even though this company assembled some of the best executives and attracted top tier investors (compared to their closest competitors), the company was on a downslide. Morale was slipping and key employees were leaving. The CEO (and co-founder) was relieved of his title by the board and the search for his successor began.
This company, Decision Tech, was a high profile, two years old company with much at stake. The chairman of the board pushed for hiring Kathryn, an ancient fifty-seven years old by Silicon Valley standards. Employees and the executive staff were stunned with the news of the new hire.
The story develops by weaving Lencioni's team dysfunctions into its web. The fable is enticing and not typical of your "how to produce" guidelines book. The author keeps your interest while at the same time introducing and teaching his methods.
At the end of the story, Mr. Lencioni reviews all levels of team dysfunctions and summarizes and reiterates each. Therefore reinforcing his principles and eliminating confusion.
This is the first book I have read by this author. I found it entertaining, yet very informative. I enjoyed the novel format while receiving important informational steps for success in a team or group.
I would highly recommend this book to any person or group seeking to improve or turn around the team in which they belong. It would be a great tool for corporate teams or even the local high school basketball team. All teams would greatly benefit from Mr. Lencioni's advice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Five Dysfunctions of a Team - 31/2 Stars, Dec 22 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
The fictitious story used to expand on the five dysfunctions was very entertaining at the least. Ultimately, the principles outlined in the book are the utopia of teamwork. However, they are not really practical. I find myself after reading through the book still waiting for the true message on team work that I could really apply in the real world. The author does attempt to expand on his view at the end of the book but falls really short in my opinion of adding any real value.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Superficial non-"real world" advice, June 21 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
I am an avid reader, especially of books in the self-help and management classification. I must honestly say that in the last 10 years, this book ranks as the WORST book I have read in the area of management and leadership.
To be fair, it is well written, and an easy read. In fact I was able to read it in just two sittings during travel. Moreover, the overall concepts that the author presents are clear and seem reasonable. So why the bad review?
The fact is the author takes a far too simplistic approach to dealing with the frailties and motivations of individuals. The fictional case study is far too perfect. It is like watching a re-run of "Father Knows Best" and using that as the typical American Family. It is nice to think it, but in practice the world is not that way.
The book does not do justice to some of the real world issues in team leadership: backstabbing employees, co-dependent relationships, substance abuse, neurosis, and overall un-manageable people.
While the book presents some general principals which might work in a "laboratory setting" the leader who trys to follow this verbatim may be in for a shock at the results.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Whose team are you on?, Jan. 21 2008
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: 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 "the rarity" of effective teamwork, noting that "teams, because they are made up of imperfect human beings, are inherently dysfunctional." Is teamwork therefore doomed to failure? No. According to Lencioni, productive collaboration can be achieved by certain behaviors that are "at once theoretically uncomplicated, but extremely difficult to put into practice day after day." Moreover, the principles that guide and inform these behaviors "apply to more than just teamwork. I fact, I stumbled upon them somewhat by accident in pursuit of a theory about leadership" that he discusses in an earlier work, The Five Temptations of the CEO (1998).

Here's the fictional situation. A new CEO, 57 year-old Kathryn Petersen, has been hired by the board of DecisionTech to replace its co-founder and former CEO, 37-year-old Jeff Shanley, who continues to head the firm's business development. He was (in effect) forced to step down primarily because, although DecisionTech's 150 employees "seemed to like him well enough personally, they couldn't deny that under his leadership the atmosphere within the company had become increasingly troubling. Backstabbing among the executives had become increasingly troubling."

Almost immediately, it becomes obvious that Kathryn "just didn't seem to fit the DecisionTech culture" and that is a key point for reasons best revealed within Lencioni's narrative. She initiates a series of off-site meetings with her senior managers. Their discussions - and what does (and does not) happen between the off-site meetings - allow Lencioni to dramatize both the five "dysfunctions of a team" to which the title of his book refers and the solutions to each that he recommends. 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.

As is his custom in each of the other volumes in the series of "leadership fables," Lencioni then provides a "Model" section and supplementary material (Pages 185-224) whose value-added benefits will help his reader to make effective application of the lessons learned from the experiences shared by Kathryn and her DecisionTech associates.

Those who share my high regard for this volume are urged to check out Patrick Lencioni's other books (especially his Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team) as well as these sources in which their authors share their insights about writing an effective business narrative: Stephen Denning's The Springboard, and his soon-to-be-published The Secret Language of Leadership, Doug Lipman's Improving Your Storytelling, Annette Simmons' The Story Factor and Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, and Storytelling in Organizations co-authored by John Seely Brown, Denning, Katarina Groh, and Laurence Prusak.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Things to look for and fix on teams at all levels, May 13 2004
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
This book is great because the simple narrative makes the 5 different disfunctions more concrete by showing exactly how they can manifest in a team. These are common issues not only executive-level teams, but also teams of lower-level folks like myself, working on individual features of a product. Some of the higher-level concepts like understanding what your 'first team' are a little bit less relevant, but most of the book is still very pertinent and easy to directly apply.
The worksheets and exercises he has in the back are also great, no-nonsense ways to bring your team back on track. The only things I might've liked to see are some more information around what can go wrong when you try to "correct" the particular issues and maybe some more concrete details on what it means to be a leader by his definition. It's a bit vauge in places and seems to be more a matter of reporting structure than technical / feature leadership (i.e. a team of all true peers but where one person is the technical / business expert), though he works to call out some of the details at the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, March 13 2004
By 
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is an interesting, easy to read fictional story about a Silicon Valley company in a turnaround situation. Lencioni did a really good job of creating characters that everybody can relate to.
The one theme that I took from this book is the importance of open, frank communication between team members. That is the core of the five dysfunctions. Most of the time when people are in a group setting, their primary goal is not to get the job done right, but instead it is to not offend other members of the group. This leads to some terrible decision making since nobody ever objects to bad ideas for fear of making another co-worker look bad. This book drives home the important point that conflict in groups is good as long as it is respectful because it leads to much better decision making.
In addition, as another reviewer mentioned, one of the most impressive parts of the book is that the author doesn't shield you from the fact that there is going to be some pain and struggle when working through problems. As a reader, there are a few times when I genuinely wondered: "Are they going to make it?" This is important since in real life you will probably wonder the same thing when you hit some obstacles along the way.
I highly recommend this book.
Greg Blencoe
Author, The Ten Commandments for Managers
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but there is more than the Five Dysfunctions, Aug. 24 2003
By 
Richard Andreini (Sunnyvale, California USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
Although I really liked the focus by Lencioni on trust and conflict, I felt that too much emphasis was placed on explaining in detail trust issues and using conflict creatively and not enough on examples and concrete advice on several ways to create trust and encourage creative conflict. In other words, I would have liked less on definitions and more on solutions. Ultimately teams will also suceed or fail based on the composition of the team and their personalities and how they interact. Communication skills, listening, learning styles, clarity are needed by team members. It is possible that the players are the wrong players and how do we know which ones and what and how strong their dysfuctions are? The Myers-Briggs is a start, but with the wrong players the team skill sets and training don't work (there are 3 or 4 great tests that will help build team). I wish he had spent more time on those issues. The last few pages of the book are very powerful and Lencioni demonstrates a wonderful grasp of ways to fix teams. The exceptional storybook style and then the more common business book style give all types of readers a way to relate to his message. We are a nation of story tellers and Lencioni tells a very compelling story; as a matter of fact, United States uses storytelling as a way of illustrating points more than any nation in the world!
In business we continually experience the issue of "lack of creative conflict" and I feel it is a bigger problem than any of the other 4, because we do not like to rock the boat. Lencioni does an exceptional job in strongly making that case and illustrating it well.
One of the most powerful things that Lencioni pointed out was that teams must be loyal to the team and not undermine team loyalty...we do this by placing the needs of our department or division ahead of the teams! Teams need to really believe that they have a common fate and not just a common goal! This was the most powerful book I have read on team dysfunctions. I liked it so much that I reviewed it in my monthly newsletter. It captures the essence of why teams fail and presents it in a clear and entertaining style.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Read, Aug. 11 2003
By 
Douglas E. Welch "New Media Consultant" (Van Nuys, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
I just finished this book tonight (I have been on a reading binge lately) and was very impressed. Dysfunctions is structured more like a short story or novelette than a traditional business book. This allowed me to get very involved in the story. Indeed, I believe a good story is always the best way to approach life and business. Whether you are writing a resume or trying to solve difficult business problems, a good story can illuminate the issue better than any combination of charts and reports.
The end of the book contains a more "business-like" restatement of the lessons, for those who want a more traditional review.
More importantly, I saw many aspects of my past business dealings echoed in the book. I think that anyone who is involved in business, in any form, has faced many of these same problems and issues. I requested this book from the library after seeing a short mention, possibly just the title in some magazine I was reading. I had no preconceptions about what I might find within, and I have been pleasantly surprised with the quality and importance of Dysfunctions.
While telling a good story helped to clearly explain the concepts, there were a few times when the characters came around too quickly to the lesson.The main character, a newly minuted CEO brought in to build a better executive team, seems a bit too assured with her process, but yet exhibits some moments of fear and regret.
Overall, this is a great book and I would highly suggest that it be recommended to your employees and your peers as a way of explaining how teamwork can and will develop if everyone is committed to making it happen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You gotta read "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team", July 31 2003
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
Before I read "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni, I was unaware that professionals who work together in groups and teams face the same problems as teenagers in high school. Lencioni disscusses the five dysfunctions that teams face. He uses a spectacular model to explain them.... a story line about a major company facing troubles because the survival of the company depends on a team of about 7 people who are in such a disarray and "just can't get along." Lencioni told the story in the point of view of a new CEO of the company, who was challenged to piece the team and the company back together.
There were pros and cons to this book, although I really really enjoyed it. The discussions among the CEO and group about why they are failing as a team and at succeeding (i.e. lack of trust, avoidance of conflict/accountability) were so general and so obvious, but at the same time so necessary. I believe that people can relate to some of the characters on the team. It will help you to understand your team members, it allows other teams members to understand you, and it allows everyone to be able to relate to each other. Because I guarantee, if you are in a team, you have experienced much of what was discussed and experienced in the story. This book will allow you to overcome those obstacles and hopefully work towards a better work atmosphere and create healthier, more understanding relationships with your co-workers.
Another positive aspect of "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" is that the story is told through the narrations of the CEO. This allows people to get a closer sense of what she is dealing with and how she is feeling at the time.
However, the story is a bit long, and if you are reading the story and trying to apply it at the same time, it would not be much help right away. Also, the story sometimes went off on tangents when in the group discussions, which caused them to get off of the subject at task. There could have been more stress on how the teams overcame their hurdles, instead of elaborating so much on explaining each dysfunction. Because the dysfunctions were the obvious part, it was the overcoming part of it that is important in guiding readers to overcome the same hurdles.
Overall, I really believe that this book is really effective in teaching a lesson, guiding readers to success, and even giving people a reality check as to why they may be hurting their own team. I would definitely recommend this book to CEO's and team leaders/members. If you are in a dysfunctional team and wonder why, I guarantee this book can explain it and guide you to success, also!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insight Made Easy, July 29 2003
By 
Kristen Hovanec (Pittsburgh, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (Hardcover)
In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni attracts and captures your attention with his intriguing business story. Before going into thorough details of the five dysfunctions, Lencioni tells the story of a fictitious executive team working to revive a technology company near Silicone Valley. The characters are as realistic as can be and extremely easy to relate to. The story is quite simple to understand and keeps a quick pace. Typically, I have found educational books to drag on and only share stories that few people could relate with. However, this book leads readers through a reasonable, professional journey. The dysfunctions are practical and truthful. Often teams and groups feel that they have all of the possible resources necessary in attaining and mastering their goals, when in fact, they have a plethora of various hidden problems holding them back. Lencioni breaks apart each of these difficulties and explains how it will deny the team of their full potential. I felt that Lencioni's method of applying knowledge prior to teaching a lesson was much more effective than the traditional method of teaching then applying. When the author is finally "teaching" the lessons towards the end of the book, it seems as if you have already learned the information. Patrick Lencioni also provides a useful team assessment and a thoroughly detailed model of the dysfunctions. Insightful suggestions on overcoming the dysfunctions are included as well. Overall, this short, quick book is packed full of invaluable knowledge that can be applied to teams at all levels.
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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni (Hardcover - April 11 2002)
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