Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team - Patrick Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Business Management

It's hard to write a review on a book like this because it was a 'forced read'. I read it for a project in my Organizational Behaviour class, it's definately not a book I would pick up and read for fun. So do I review this book as a book to provide entertainment or as a book to suit the niche it was written for? I don't think it would be fair to me to write a review for this as a book for entertainment purposes (it wasn't that entertaining), so I'll review how well the book got out its message.
Lencioni's purpose is to show the five most common dysfunctions of a team, exercises to overcome them, and what a manager can do to help. This book is very readable. Lencioni gives an analogy to put across his message. This analogy involves a dysfunctional company that has to fire their CEO and bring in a replacement. The replacement is Kathryn, an elderly woman with little CEO experience. The team is doubtful about her abilities, but little do they know that she's an expert in bringing people together and making them work better as a team. She takes them on a retreat and explains to them five ways that teams are dysfunctional, then sets about to try and fix these five problems in her own team. The only problem? Lencioni's analogy takes up 90% of the book. He does explain what the five dysfunctionalities are and why they are considered to be so through the characters, but it is not until the last section of the book that he explains everything in details. I believe that more of the book should have been devoted to these strategies than to how Katheryn and her team worked together.
With these dysfunctions in mind, it almost seems impossible to make his theories into reality. How many groups in the world are not dysfunctional in at least one aspect? I suspect very few. In his suggestions, however, he does provide good hints on how to overcome these issues, even if it's by just a little.
I do have a problem with the price. $30 to give give me knowledge that really, if you think about it, is just common sense? That's a bit steep. It would be like paying $30 to watch an episode of Dr. Phil.



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