Book Review: The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

Review by Ircel Harrison, Coaching Coordinator for Pinnacle Leadership Associates


I am a long-time fan of consultant Patrick Lencioni. He is a Christian but he writes for a larger audience. Lencioni’s approach to working with organizations is simple, direct, and disarming but it is undergirded with a respect for individual worth, self-determination, and accountability. Because of this philosophy, I have no hesitation about recommending his books not only to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations but to churches and judicatories as well.

At first glance, one might consider The Advantage (http://astore.amazon.com/barnfile-20/detail/0470941529), his latest book, as simply a compilation of the concept chapters from his previous books like The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (http://astore.amazon.com/barnfile-20/detail/0787960756), Death by Meeting ( http://astore.amazon.com/barnfile-20/detail/0787968056), or Silos, Politics and Turf Wars (http://astore.amazon.com/barnfile-20/detail/0787976385), but it is more than a rehash.

Lencioni takes this opportunity to provide a comprehensive model for organizational health. In order to be healthy, according to Lencioni, an organization must have integrity. He does not use the word in a moral or ethical way but holistically:
“An organization has integrity—is healthy—when it is whole, consistent, and complete, that is, when its management, operations, strategy, and culture fit together and make sense.”

In order for this to happen, an organization must practice four disciplines: build a cohesive leadership team, create clarity, overcommunicate clarity, and reinforce clarity. In other words, get the right people on board, know what you want to accomplish, make sure everyone knows what you want to accomplish, and act in ways that reinforce behavior to reach the desired goals.

This works for any organization including the churches. Unhealthy churches often struggle with lack of leadership focus, an unknown or unclear vision, poor communication, and systems that fail to move the church forward. The skills and processes offered in The Advantage would help any church to become healthy and accomplish its Kingdom role.

The book is written in a clear and accessible style, so one does not have to have a degree in management to understand the concepts. In addition to the print version, The Advantage is also available in an enhanced e-book format (http://astore.amazon.com/barnfile-20/detail/B0096HA82S) with videos of Lencioni and links to PDFs of tools for implementation. I encourage you to buy that version for your own use even if others in your church select the print format.

Although the contents are user-friendly, a consultant from Pinnacle would be very helpful in implementing this approach to a healthy organization. Contact Ircel at ircelh@pinnaclelead.com to explore options on how Pinnacle can help you.
Helen