Lencioni “What Matters Most”

What Matters Most? Patrick Lencioni recently weighed in on the topic in a CEO Briefing.

Lencioni What Matters Most

Patrick Lencioni What Matters Most

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“Companies, especially in technology, that love the accoutrements of culture, that’s not really culture. To me that’s excess. And I have to say I think it’s rooted in narcissism.”

Lencioni cites the causes of strategic miscues or even failures as rooted in fear, greed, and mistrust.

“Organizational health” will prove to be the decisive edge among companies in the future. 

Crib notes

  1. Great CEOs feel…the pressure to do the right thing, to work really hard and be a good steward of the opportunity.
  2. If you really want to get a sense of a healthy and successful company, attend a leadership meeting. If the meeting is boring with no tension and no emotional engagement, there are really bad things going on. Good leadership teams have to push each other.
  3. The great thing about millennials’ is that they sniff out the BS. (If you have a foosball table or a kegerator, and the managers treat people like crap, management is trying to manipulate you into staying there.) Touchy feely stuff doesn’t work. Collaboration and engagement does.

Because competitive advantage comes from four (4) simple things:

A cohesive, frank leadership team.

  • Do you have one?
  • Ideally, 3-10 people.
  • Team dynamics include trust both ways; with a willingness to be vulnerable with each other.
  • Engage in unfiltered conflict around important issues, opportunities and challenges.
  • Hold each other accountable.

Clarity about what matters most for company’s success.

  • First off, why do we exist?
  • Similarly, what business are in?
  • How do we behave?
  • What is the most important thing we could be doing for the organization, right now?
  • Who must do what by when (roles, responsibilities, accountabilities)

Communicating that message over and over again to everyone in the company.

  • Cascading messages.
  • Top-down, lateral and upward communication.
  • Constantly reinforce the key messages.
    • This is what we’re about, and I’m going to tell you over and over again.

Structure—without bureaucracy—that reinforces the clarity.

  • New hires integrated based on company values and behaviors.
  • Put just enough structure in place to reinforce the culture without bureaucratizing it.
  • Employees who don’t fit the culture are managed out.
  • Compensation and reward systems are built around the goals of the organization.

Most importantly, what is the best piece of advice for a leader today? Make your organization as healthy as it can be and you will become resilient. When the inevitable crisis occurs, together, we can weather that storm.