The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business

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Author:Patrick M. Lencioni
views 8376
Author:Patrick M. Lencioni

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business
Patrick M. Lencioni, Jossey-Bass, 2012
Senteo’s Review information

“The Advantage”, authored by Patrick M. Lencioni, a renowned business consultant, writer, and speaker known for his focus on team management and business health, presents a bold argument. It asserts that organizational health is the primary key to success in business, outweighing all other factors, even those of such importance as strategy and marketing. 

Lencioni leverages his extensive experience to detail how organizational health impacts every aspect of a company. He provides a model for achieving and maintaining this health, starting from building a cohesive leadership team to establishing clarity about the company’s direction, reinforcing this clarity through human systems, and, finally, over-communicating this clarity to all stakeholders. 

According to Lencioni, organizational health is not merely the absence of politics, confusion, or staff turnover. Instead, it involves creating an environment characterized by alignment, clarity, and high morale. An organization should be intellectually aligned and emotionally committed to achieving a common goal. The author advocates for simple disciplines such as team cohesion, clarity, communication, and reinforcement, which are critical for achieving organizational health. 

The author’s methodology consists of 4 simple steps:  

  1. Build a Cohesive Leadership Team
  2. Create Clarity
  3. Overcommunicate Clarity
  4. Reinforce Clarity

This book aims to serve as a guide, helping companies pinpoint their exact challenges, thereby allowing their strategy, operations, culture, and other facets to align seamlessly. By addressing the issues outlined in this book, leaders can establish a goal to cultivate a productive, harmonious, and efficient workplace, paving the way for sustained success.

“The Advantage” stands out for its simplicity and practicality. Lencioni cuts through the complex jargon of business literature and gets to the heart of what makes an organization tick. His approach is intuitive, focusing on common-sense principles. In this regard, the book is highly approachable and easy to understand, enabling leaders of all kinds to grasp the problems within their organizations and promptly work towards resolution, without much hassle. 

Furthermore, Lencioni’s main thesis—that organizational health trumps all other aspects in business—is an important reminder in today’s fast-paced, competitive business environment. The message that a healthy, cohesive team is the cornerstone of any successful company is timeless and applicable across industries and geographical boundaries. 

Unfortunately, for the most part, “The Advantage” fails to sufficiently cover the topic. It greatly oversimplifies the challenges involved in building and maintaining a healthy organization. While Lencioni’s principles are reasonably sound, implementing them in a real-world business setting can, and likely will be, much more complex and challenging than the book suggests. 

Additionally, the book’s sources, proof, and argumentation consist almost entirely of personal anecdotes from the author’s business and personal life. While Lencioni’s experience is undoubtedly valuable and admirable, the book would have benefited greatly from including tangible case studies, real-world examples, references to existing literature on the subject, and links to fields such as economics, psychology, and management theory. 

Furthermore, while Lencioni offers a guide to building organizational health, the book doesn’t provide a comprehensive plan for troubleshooting when things go wrong. More insights into how to navigate specific roadblocks and challenges that can arise during the process of building a healthy organization would have added further value to the book. 

Lastly, the book is largely focused on leadership and doesn’t delve much into how employees at all levels can contribute to organizational health. A more holistic view that includes input from all members of an organization would have been beneficial.

There is a competitive advantage out there, arguably more powerful than any other. Is it superior strategy? Faster innovation? Smarter employees? No, New York Times best-selling author, Patrick Lencioni, argues that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre ones has little to do with what they know and how smart they are and more to do with how healthy they are. In this book, Lencioni brings together his vast experience and many of the themes cultivated in his other best-selling books and delivers a first: a cohesive and comprehensive exploration of the unique advantage organizational health provides. 

Simply put, an organization is healthy when it is whole, consistent, and complete, when its management, operations and culture are unified.  Healthy organizations outperform their counterparts, are free of politics and confusion and provide an environment where star performers never want to leave. Lencioni’s first non-fiction book provides leaders with a groundbreaking, approachable model for achieving organizational health complete with stories, tips and anecdotes from his experiences consulting to some of the nation’s leading organizations. In this age of informational ubiquity and nano-second change, it is no longer enough to build a competitive advantage based on intelligence alone. “The Advantage” provides a foundational construct for conducting business in a new way one that maximizes human potential and aligns the organization around a common set of principles.

“The Advantage” is primarily targeted towards business leaders, managers, and organizational consultants looking to improve their company’s performance and culture. However, it also offers valuable insights for anyone interested in understanding the dynamics of a successful organization. 

For those seeking further insight into organizational culture and team management, “Work Rules!” by Laszlo Bock is an excellent exploration of the highly-attractive corporate culture at Google, offering concrete steps for its implementation and adoption in any organization. 

Additionally, “The Fifth Discipline” is an all-time classic depicting another important sphere of any healthy organization – organizational learning, and “Radical Candor” by Kim M. Scott can provide readers with many examples of good leadership practices.  

For more on business strategy and organizational behavior with a focus on customer experience, readers might consider exploring Good to Great”(Senteo review) by J. Collins. Furthermore, people interested in leadership, mission, and their impact on behavior, might be interested in “Start with Why” (Senteo review) by S. Sinek. 

Senteo Subject Category

“The Advantage” is devoted to enhancing organizational health, performance, and team dynamics. Primarily, it focuses on the theoretical approaches to these areas while also providing a simple, yet limited framework for its implementation.

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    The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business
    Patrick M. Lencioni, Jossey-Bass, 2012
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