Book Notes: The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

Here is my two minute book review and my raw notes from The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Businessby Patrick Lencioni.

And here are my RAW notes:

Leaders sometimes have three biases-

1. The sophistication bias – leaders who think simple things aren’t important
2. The adrenaline bias – leaders who are afraid to slow down to deal with things that are truly important
3. The quantification bias – leaders who shy away from things that can’t be measured in a precise way

Organizational health is the GREATEST opportunity for improvement and competitive advantage.

“Smart organizations don’t seem to have any greater chance of getting healthier by virtue of their intelligence. In fact, the reverse may actually be true because leaders who pride themselves on expertise and intelligence often struggle to acknowledge their flaws and learn from their peers.” – page 9

The environment matters. If you had to bet on the future of one of two kids, would you choose the kid raised by loving parents in a solid home or the one who was a product of dysfunction. Resources don’t matter as much as environment.

The Four Disciplines Are:

1. Build a cohesive leadership team
2. Create clarity
3. Overcommunicate clarity
4. Reinforce clarity

Teamwork is not a virtue – it is a strategic choice.

Two methods for leading a discussion:

  • Advocacy – I think we should change our strategic choice.
  • Inquiry – Why do you think this approach is not working?

Intelligent people should never sacrifice the effectiveness and manageability of their team for a tactical victory.

Members of cohesive teams spend many hours working on issues or topics that don’t fall directly within their formal areas of responsibility

Fundamental Attribution Error – We give ourselves the benefit of the doubt but assume the worst about others. You attribute negative behaviors of others to their character and attribute your own negative behavior to your circumstances. St. Francis said, “Seek to understand more than to be understood.”

Leaders don’t tolerate artificial harmony. Two people who trust each other and who are engaged in something important SHOULD feel compelled to disagree when they see things differently.
You can disagree and commit.

In meetings, silence can mean disagreement. At the end of the meeting, ask for a formal commitment to the decision. You must prevent “I never really liked that idea in the first place.”

Firing someone isn’t always an act of accountability – it could be a sign of cowardice for a leader who doesn’t know how to hold people accountable.

Behavioral accountability is more important than the formal, result-oritented kind.

An organization that rarely achieves it’s goals is, by definition, not a good team.


Most mission statements do not accurately define what the organization actually does for a living. You can use lots of words and say nothing.

“A good plan violently executed today is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” – General Patton

If your mission statement was never formalized or written down, it would still live in your heart and be real. Your purpose needs to be your purpose before it’s worded for a billboard. You can focus on saying it right, but first it needs to be real.

Values should attract and repel customers. CEO who responds to a customer, “We’ll miss you.”

A core value is only a core value if you could honestly say you’re more committed to it than 99% of the other companies in your industry.

A strategy is nothing more than a collection of intentional decisions made to give yourself the best chance to thrive. It’s a plan for success.


Every organization must have a single top priority within a given period of time. A thematic goal is a rallying cry. It should provide clarity around how to spend your time. Specific objectives are the activities required to achieve the goal.

If you have multiple roles in the organization, be clear about what role you’re playing when you’re making a decision. Expecially if you’re the CEO and also fulfilling another role.

Peopl are skeptical about what they are being told unless they hear it consistently over time. You don’t need to set it and forget it – you need to set it and continually remind.

“Most leadership teams are more than adept at sending out email messages and giving presentations, and yet they still struggle with effective communication because employees wonder about the authenticity of what they are reading and hearing.” (page 145)

You can know how to build a website, btu never achieve clarity around key messages.

Institutionalize your culture, don’t bureaucratize it.

The most memorable time of an employee’s career, and the time with the biggest impact, are his or her first few days on the job.

The best management programs are designed to stimulate the right kinds of conversations around the right topics. Compensation plans should be simple and clearly remind employees what is most important.


Most important thing to observe is the leadership team during a meeting. Bad meetings are the birthplace of unhealthy organization and good meetings are the origin of cohesion, clarity and communication (page 174)

Don’t reduce time or combine meetingsā€¦make sure they are the right KIND of meetings and make them effective.

Separate tactical decisions from strategic ones.

Click here to get the book from my Amazon store.