The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive

The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive by Patrick Lencioni. Allegories and parables have long been effective ways to impart serious bits of knowledge and wisdom without getting too pedantic, and business readers seem increasingly receptive to sensible management theory that employs this lively age-old literary technique.

Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, a “leadership fable” by Patrick Lencioni, continues the trend with a solid prescription for organizational health–aiming for less politics, lower turnover, more productivity, and higher morale. Presented as a fictional tale of two technical consultants and their competing companies, the story is structured in a fashion that recalls his previous book (The Five Temptations of a CEO, whose main character and firm are even slipped into this narrative). Lencioni uses this hypothetical setting to show how his concepts might look and work in the real world.

In this case, his “four disciplines at the heart of making any organization world class” are revealed and explained through the philosophy and behavior of Rich O’Connor of Telegraph Partners. Build and maintain a cohesive leadership team, create organizational clarity, communicate organizational clarity, and reinforce organizational clarity through human systems. Through his tale of Telegraph and its rival Greenwich Consulting, Lencioni illustrates how these principles can be beneficially employed–and how an organization can be stymied when they’re missing. The story moves quickly and is followed by a comprehensive analytical summary, which includes self-assessment tools and suggestions for putting the ideas into practice.┬áLencioni offers concrete examples of steps to take to establish these disciplines and suggests ways to assess whether they have been effective.