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  • Announcing Pat Lencioni's New Book: The Ideal Team Player

    Pat Lencioni, Announcing Pat Lencioni's New Book: The Ideal Team Player

    I'm excited to tell you about my new book that will be released on April 26th. If you're familiar with The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, you know that I've spent much of my career working with leaders and their teams to improve their behavioral dynamics. A fair question that people have asked me over the years is 'what kind of person is best suited to work on a team, and to inspire and help others overcome the five dysfunctions?' My latest book, The Ideal Team Player, is the answer to that question. 

    Throughout my career, managers have been talking about the importance of hiring team players in their organizations. Some were just giving lip service to teamwork, but many were genuinely interested in finding people who would "work well with others." What amazes me is how few of them really knew what to look for. From interviewing and hiring to employee development and firing, managers seem to have been largely guessing at how to predict and assess whether a person was likely to fit into and function well on a team. 

    Well, after twenty-five years of working with teams and using this simple model with my own team, I've come to the conclusion that there are three virtues or characteristics that great team players share, and which allow them to inspire and help their colleagues overcome the five dysfunctions and make their teams successful. Those virtues can be used to screen and assess prospective employees in the hiring process, or to dissect challenges among current team members. When a person possesses all three characteristics, they qualify as ideal team players. But when they lack just one in a significant way, they present a manager with a big, red flag, one that cannot be ignored. 

    I've been told that I shouldn't reveal the three virtues here so that people will be curious and go out and buy the book. But I don't always do what I'm told. So, in the spirit of transparency, here goes: an ideal team player must be simultaneously humble, hungry and smart. The book begins with a fable about a CEO who is desperate to save a family business by cracking the code on what true team players look like. It also contains an in-depth application section and a number of tools and assessments that can help managers in any type or size of organization to improve the way they hire and develop team players. 

    My hope has always been that one day teamwork will become something of a standard in organizations, that all companies will spend as much time discerning whether new hires possess the three virtues of an ideal team player as they do verifying technical abilities. Until that day, the companies that come to value those virtues will enjoy a significant competitive advantage. And they'll have to spend a lot less time and energy on corrective action, terminations and employee lawsuits. Sounds like a worthwhile endeavor to me. 

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