Thursday, September 10, 2009

Patrick Lencioni - Organizational Clarity

Below are my notes from listening to Patrick Lencioni speak today at the Southeastern University Leadership Forum Webcast hosted by If you aren't familiar with Lencioni, you are missing one of the great minds of today on leadership - in any organization church or otherwise. Lencioni's books are "must read" quality, and whenever he is speaking I go out of my way to listen because he always challenges me. His insight and clarity are always refreshing, and his creativity is always fun. A few of Lencioni's books I would recommend highly are:
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business
Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable About Destroying the Barriers That Turn Colleagues Into Competitors
The Five Temptations of a CEO

Patrick Lencioni – Organizational Clarity
Every organization that succeeds and maximizes its potential has to have 2 things going for it
1. It has to be Smart
2. Health
-Minimal politics
-Minimal confusion
-High morale
-High productivity
-Low turnover

Best area for improvement and competitive advantage comes from the #2 group above, not #1. #2 list is a multiplier on the #1 list.

Have the courage to be simple about the things you do, so you can do them well.

Your family is the most important organization in your life.
Success in Families


What we need:
-Without context we struggle
-with context less guilt
-more courage – we know it is the right decision in context
-more clarity

What do we need to do to create greater clarity
1. What makes us unique?
-how are we not a generic church/family/org
2. What is most important?
-something has to be most important
3. How will we act on all this?
-can’t put it in a notebook and put it on a shelf, use it to behave, living direction for us

What makes us unique?
-Core Values

Core Values (“Built to Last” a good reference)
-something that is inherent and true, we don’t make it up, it is already there
-what we say and do already without defining it
-Permission to play values – important values (integrity etc.) that don’t set you apart – not core values
-Enron listed integrity as a value
-it is important, but it doesn’t set us apart
-Aspirational Values – values we know we need to succeed but don’t have – not core values
-if we put it down and say we got it, maybe people will start doing it
-we often say the things we are not
-doesn’t mean we don’t try to do this, but they cannot become a core value
-things you manage for and structure for
-Accident values – not necessarily good or bad, but not core values
-protect against things creeping in and becoming true

So what is a core value – the ones you will do no matter what
-Core values protect your identity
-What is it that uniquely makes us who we are
-You get punished for your values, and that is how you know it is real.
-When you have a core value, you will at times go too far in that direction, but that’s alright
and part of the process

-write down everything that is true about your org, and then say what are the things that inform the other decisions we make – our anchors
-allows us to be informed by something to help us make decisions
-Clarity is empowerment
(Youth sports is the false god of our society)

So what is the most important thing?
-if everything is equally important, nothing is important
-A Rallying Cry
-A single thing
-it is qualitative
-Shared across the whole organization
-If we accomplish something in the next 3-12 months, what is the one big thing that matters most

Reinvigorate the church example:
-Improve the sermon
-Add small group
-Increase outreach
-Improve youth program
-Improve visibility of pastor

What’s the one big thing that if we look back at the end of the year, if we didn’t do it, we failed?

How are we going to act on this?
-one of the worst problems we have, we do the planning but don’t live it out

Organizational Health is key
Clarity reduces guilt and increases courage
Three Questions must be answered for resources (slides) related to this presentation

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