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The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable Hardcover – Aug 24 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (Aug. 24 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787954039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787954031
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2 x 21.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Allegories and parables have long been effective ways to impart serious bits of knowledge and wisdom without getting too pedantic, and business readers seem increasingly receptive to sensible management theory that employs this lively age-old literary technique. Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, a "leadership fable" by Patrick Lencioni, continues the trend with a solid prescription for organizational health--aiming for less politics, lower turnover, more productivity, and higher morale. Presented as a fictional tale of two technical consultants and their competing companies, the story is structured in a fashion that recalls his previous book (The Five Temptations of a CEO, whose main character and firm are even slipped into this narrative). Lencioni uses this hypothetical setting to show how his concepts might look and work in the real world. In this case, his "four disciplines at the heart of making any organization world class" are revealed and explained through the philosophy and behavior of Rich O'Connor of Telegraph Partners. Build and maintain a cohesive leadership team, create organizational clarity, communicate organizational clarity, and reinforce organizational clarity through human systems. Through his tale of Telegraph and its rival Greenwich Consulting, Lencioni illustrates how these principles can be beneficially employed--and how an organization can be stymied when they're missing. The story moves quickly and is followed by a comprehensive analytical summary, which includes self-assessment tools and suggestions for putting the ideas into practice. --Howard Rothman

From Booklist

This fictional tale by a screenwriter and head of a consulting firm that specializes in organizational development is billed not as a novel but as a "leadership fable." Just like Lencioni's earlier The Five Temptations of a CEO (1998), this new "fable" serves as a vehicle to illustrate the author's philosophy of management. The story is short and simple, but its lesson is large. Organizations must not only be smart; they must be healthy. For one thing, healthy companies can make themselves smarter, but unhealthy organizations squander intellectual advantage through infighting and cross-purposes. To drive home his moral, Lencioni follows his story with a discussion that explicitly sets down his four "actionable steps," or disciplines, that are the hallmark of a healthy organization--build a leadership team, create organizational clarity, communicate that clarity, and then reinforce it through human systems. Lencioni offers concrete examples of steps to take to establish these disciplines and suggests ways to assess whether they have been effective. David Rouse
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: 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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