The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable Hardcover – Aug 24 2000
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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
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
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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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Lencioni has a talent for making seemingly simple ideas come alive in ways that highlight their complexity and importance. I highly recommend his books.Published 3 months ago by DrD
... 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. Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2013 by John Ratz
Lencioni communicates through storytelling. Here, he unravels his four focuses of extraordinary executives by comparing two competitive CEO in consulting. Read morePublished on June 3 2003 by rodboomboom
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.Published on April 26 2003 by James
This book is a must-read for CEO's, venture partners, and executives that have any interest in improving themselves as leaders. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2002 by Angel Mehta
An extremely interesting fable narrating the success techniqes adopted by an extraordinary executive. Read morePublished on July 30 2002 by Sandra Martyres
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... Read morePublished on June 22 2002 by Jerald A. Golley
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