Patrick Lencioni has always been one of my favorite authors and his newest book, “The Ideal Team Player” was a most enjoyable read. Lencioni’s past best-sellers have included “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, “Death by Meeting”, and “Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars”.
I have participated on a variety of different teams in my lifetime. Baseball teams as a youth. A fraternity in college. Work teams with different companies I led. Executive teams today. I have had some great teammates and some less-than-great colleagues. What separates the two groups?
“The Ideal Team Player”, as told in a fable, provides the reader with a great framework for identifying, hiring, and developing team players in any kind of organizational environment. Whether it’s a baseball sandlot or an executive boardroom, these simple principles will serve any team leader very well.
In the book, Lencioni describes three virtues that enable individuals to be ideal team players. They are “humble, hungry, and smart.” He suggests that leaders who can identify, hire, and cultivate employees with these three attributes will have a significant competitive advantage in the market.
Here is how the author describes each virtue:
Humble: “Humility is the single greatest and most indispensible attribute of being a team player. Great team players lack excessive ego or concerns about status.”
Hungry: “Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder becayse they are self-motivated and diligent.”
Smart: “Smart simply refers to a person’s common sense abut people. It has everything to do with the ability to be interpersonally appropriate and aware.”
How would you rate yourself on each of these? How about your executive team? Your strategic partners? Family members?
In addition to the story Lencioni tells to introduce the virtues to the reader, he also provides us with a large section in the book on how to apply these three attributes. I immediately began to think about my current teams and how I could use these three charateristics to upgrade my existing groups.
I loved this book and strongly encourage you to make it your next business read this summer.