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Book Review - The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni


Full disclosure, I have never been a fan of Mr. Lencioni's works. I never thought they were bad and I actually like some of his ideas, I just thought they were overly simplistic. It is easy for a manager or executive to read his works, the story-telling style is engaging and easy to follow, and then think that the change is simple. I don't know whether Mr. Lencioni thinks it is simple (my guess is not), but it always bugs me.

The Advantage is his first non-fiction book that delves into what he refers to as organizational health. A healthy organization is a utopia where there are no politics, everyone is sharing, and everything is unified. I do not believe that this is possible. I am not some pessimistic naysayer. It just again oversimplifies the idea of a complex organization. If you have a company of any size (for example, over 10), the idea that people are completely unified regardless of the culture is not realistic. It goes against everything we know about human nature.

Having said that, the things that are discussed and suggested in the book are all worthy items. I just think it gives the sense of being too neat and clean. The unified and healthy company is a worthy, but unattainable, goal. When reading the book, I found myself believing that some of the action items and goals were great - I would suggest they get implemented in any company. The only change would be that I would understand and explain the imperfections in the suggestions, not just believe they are the solution.

Much like his storyline books, this is just too neat and clean. The entire process is much messier and full of issues and contradictions.

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