The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni – book review

Published by Tim Levey on 14 April 2021

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What made me read this?

I was looking for a TED talk to play to the Intelligo business groups and came across this. I’d read a number of Patrick Lencioni books before and liked the way that the key message was wrapped in a fable. Having then used the principles on our own team I thought I should read the book.

Best quote

“The most unhappy people in a company are the ones who don’t fit the culture and are allowed to stay. They know they don’t belong. Deep down inside they know they don’t want to be there. They’re miserable.”

What’s the Big Idea?

The ideal team player has three key attributes. They are Humble, Hungry and Smart. Having only two of those isn’t enough and having only one is a disaster for the rest of the team.

Key learning 1

When someone is strong in the three areas, they will help the team to overcome the five dysfunctions of a team. That means that they will be vulnerable and build trust, engage in productive but uncomfortable conflict, commit to group decisions, hold each other accountable for performance gaps and put the results of the team ahead of themselves.

Key learning 2

Self-assessment by everyone would be good, but not always accurate. People who are not at all humble admit to it and people who aren’t hungry are too embarrassed to admit that they aren’t committed to the team. A gentler approach is to ask everyone to rank the three virtues for themselves, starting with the one that they feel they demonstrate most clearly, followed by the second and then the third.

Key learning 3

The proof of the pudding is that it isn’t only inside a business that these three virtues play a part. Isn’t a humble, hungry and smart person going to be a better person to be around at any time?

To explore these ideas at a deeper level, you can get your own copy of this book on Amazon or Waterstones.

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