Good Concept But Lacks Fictional Finesse
There is no question that I am a proud business person, one whom loves the business of selling and aspires to run their own company successfully. This being said, I am passionate about learning about the subject, and thus I often read books that my husband looks at me with raised eyebrows for:”Why would you read something business related when you’re not getting paid for it?”. Believe me I get it. In truth, the answer is that I am not doing this for the company that I work for–no one asked me to read it. I picked it up on my own. I am doing this for me. I am doing it to further my own success as a business women, and as strange as it sounds some of the business books I have read have helped me to be a better human being. Enough of my I love business rant–onto the review (which probably sounds quite scathing)!
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There were two functions to this novel, the first being a “fable” meant to portray the management point of the dysfunctional team, and the second part being a review of the concepts that were illustrated in the fable. To the first part, as it was supposed to be fictional, I would only give 2 stars. Overall, the writing was overly simplistic, the dialogue felt forced and unrealistic, and the characters were basically unrealistic, one-dimensional, flat and arrogant (a word that was used far too many times to describe other characters while the main character was noted as “confident” even though she was many times the very same thing). This was a juxtaposition to the whole second part of the novel, while it was small, that was a review of the concepts. The writing in this area was far superior lending to a 3 star rating. This contrast of writing between the two functions made me wonder if the author felt that fictional writing should be slushy, or if they honestly were just more adept at analytical writing than story-telling. If the latter where true, that is what they should stick to; however, I must point out that in both areas of the novel there were issues with coordinating conjunctions. What was more surprising to me was the fact that at one point the character steps back and realizes that she shouldn’t use the word but to begin one of her sentences because of the connotation that it holds. I wonder why the author didn’t realize that it was used the same way throughout the novel, even amongst his own analytical writing. In the second section where the concepts are reviewed the writing is better, the points are much more clear and the basis of the novel is well thought out. I did see some similarities to concepts in Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, such as mutual respect. I could watch the interactions in the fable and apply the skills I learned from Crucial Conversations to work through the issues at hand. I believe that the concepts in the novel are a good basic rendering of dysfunctions of a team (lack of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results), many of which I can see occurring in organizations that I have worked for, but that the book lacks in-depth instructions of how to truly handle these issues. It shows one how to recognize these innate truths and how to allow others to see these issues are causing dysfunction, yet it lacks the length to go into how to deal with these. It also seems to be meant for a corporate raider who possibly isn’t a part of the problem but is there to facilitate the correcting of the problem. From my experience, and as Crucial Conversations shows, many times all that are involved are a part of the problem, including executives. I think this book is a good foundation, but a more thorough book like Crucial Conversations is required to truly understand and correct the problem. Overall, I think this book would be good for a person who needs to learn by seeing an example of dysfunction; however, the fable part of the novel was lacking in fictional writing finesse.
- More Reading Suggestions: Dealing with Dysfunctional Teams (teacherleaders.typepad.com)
- A review of two leadership fables by Patrick Lencioni (cartanovaconsulting.wordpress.com)