On the interminable flight back from Slovenia, I had the opportunity to read Patrick Lencioni’s book The Ideal Team Player. Like all his books, it begins with a story about a company, which I read last. I went straight to the back where he describes the model. His premise is that there are three virtues of an ideal team player: to be humble, hungry and smart. He describes people you might recognize that have one, two or three of the virtues. From there he describes how to assess and coach for improvement, or help the folks who don’t fit to find their way out of the company.
When I read the company story, which was as engaging as it was carefully structured, I was able to relate to the difficulty the team went through to describe the necessary characteristics of a team player. Most people in any organization can relate to how hard it is to describe what makes teams work in their company culture. Lencioni suggests that these are the same for all organizations.
This book provides the missing link between his earlier book Five Dysfunctions of a Team, which describes what is required to make a team work: trust, healthy conflict, commitment, accountability and results, and the individual characteristics required to be a team player: humble, hungry and smart.
If you have company values and behaviors that you use to hire and assess performance, you may hit most of the points Lencioni makes in this book. If you don’t, I suggest you make this your next airplane book. It will take about same amount of time as that bad movie you would otherwise watch.
Special thanks to Carmen Garcia for recommending this read.
image courtesy of 6l90 pump vanes