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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable

David A. Zimmer
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The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable
by Patrick Lencioni

This will be the third book by Patrick Lencioni I've read. I am looking forward to it. I decided to get this book because it deals with leadership and executive obsessions. Lencioni has quickly become one of my favorite authors because he uses a story format to introduce and teach life concepts. He follows the story with practical instructional style writing to solidify the points and provide tactical action points.

Epilogue: As expected, Lencioni delivered another interesting portrayal of the Executive's Four Obsessions. The four are Build and Maintain a Cohesive Leadership Team, Create Organizational Clarity, Over Communicate Organizational Clarity, and Reinforce Organizational Clarity Through Human Systems.

The storyline was very interesting and filled with some twists and turns that made me chuckle and the hero of the story's reaction to a situation turned out to be both surprising and expected because of the person's emotional maturity. The "worms of the story" reactions were equally expected, and at the same time, became a maturing experience for them.

When Lencioni turned his pen to the practical application portion of the book, I quickly got out my highlighter. I soon realized my goal was to leave at least a bit of unhighlighted lines because there was so much good stuff.

Being a company of 1, I wondered how I might apply this to my business. Certainly I had a cohesive leadership, correct? Maybe. I must have organizational clarity, right? Maybe. Do I over-communicate? Maybe not. It was the human systems I had the toughest time with because I don't have any of the systems he mentioned, but maybe I should develop them just to create the clarity.

So, I took time to reevaluate my company. I worked some plans, documented them and invited a friend to lunch. Nothing like rehearsing your plans out-loud, in-front of an impartial, not-involved party to get some clarity. While the words were clear, it became abundantly evident, I needed more focus, as my friend gently pointed out. (I gave him permission at the beginning to be blunt).

So, I've taken the principles and applied them to a company of one. Applying them to a larger company will be more difficult but more beneficial because of the greater impact it could make. In order for an organization to implement these principles, they will have to be emotionally mature, though.

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