Reading List (Update): on Organizational Health

By | August 1, 2019

[August 1, 2019] It’s now been more than a week and a half since I cleaned, dried, and put away all my camping gear. Boy Scout Camp was a fun time and, like any dedicated leader, our time there reinforced a number of leader lessons along the way. One that jumps out at me is how teams can be dysfunctional. Today’s book by Patrick Lencioni takes a close look at those things that frame the problem of organizational health (and dysfunction). I recommend you get a personal copy of the book and read it (more than once) to extract out some important lessons. This will be the second book I reviewed by him. You can read my previous book review on The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: a Leadership Fable here, see link.

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, Patrick Lencioni, 2012

A common theme of mine is that to be the best leader, you don’t have to be the smartest or the strongest, but you must be the most flexible. Based on a popular saying by Charles Darwin, the survival of an individual plant or animal is based upon their ability to adapt. This applies to teams and organizations as well. Patrick Lencioni reinforces and amplifies this idea when he shows us how successful companies differ from mediocre ones and in several key aspects.

The best organizations are those that have unified operation and company culture, are free of politics and confusion, motivate star employees to never leave, and that maximize employee potential. Obviously, this is not easy to do but Lencioni does a good job of laying out HOW this can be done. He does this by showing us four steps to health: build a cohesive team, peer-to-peer accountability, office politics and bureaucracy and strategy, and how all organizations should strive to make people’s lives better. With the little space I have here, it is difficult to convey the richness of his book but its there, like wisdom, for the taking.

Overall, an excellent book and highly recommended.

To go to the full Professional Reading list, simply click on this direct link:

Side Note: Please remember and take a look at Tom Copeland’s reading blog. His website, which I highly recommend, can be found here:

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

16 thoughts on “Reading List (Update): on Organizational Health

  1. Eddie Ray Anderson, Jr.

    Good review. My library has a copy and I’ll be checking it out there. Not sure I’ll purchase a copy for my small book case.

  2. Albert Ayer

    Almost any leader will agree that organizational health is vital for success. Yet, leaders tend to focus on other areas such as skills development and strategies for marketing, finance or technology, or get so caught up with fire-fighting and urgent projects that they don’t make time for what’s important but less urgent.

    1. Harry B. Donner

      Correct and one of the author’s keys to doing this is by reducing conflict (my personal favorite). If you allow conflict via in/out-groups, office politics, etc, your org will struggle and so will you.

    2. Len Jakosky

      From my experience in many large businesses, you are spot on with that comment.

      1. Greg Heyman

        Yes, there are many distractions—such as ego, personal career, or budgets—that keep team members from focusing on results.

  3. Nick Lighthouse

    Organizational health refers to how well an institution’s components (e.g. strategy, culture, management, operations) fit together so it can function consistently as a whole. This is what his book is about and a necessity if you want to be the leader of responsible orgs.

  4. Gil Johnson

    Just a thought – maybe you could recommend this book to some of the Boy Scout leaders. On second thought, that might not work out so well. Ha ha ha ha …..

    1. José Luis Rodriguez

      Gil, you are just killing me. Thanks for the bit of humor. But in seriousness, I do think that most people today have zero training in how to make an organization reached higher levels of efficiency while also taking care of the employees.

    2. Xerxes I

      The idea that organizations, which are hierarchies of competence, can always win has been debunked now. Maybe we can do a little better in eliminating red tape and encouraging employees to simply like where they work better. Oh, a novel concept. I also recommend Lencioni’s book but don’t make it first on your list.

  5. Bryan Lee

    Gen. Satterfield, your long-running series on recommended books has been very helpful to me personally, so thank you. I like the series and ask that you also include more on the psychology of leadership. Organizational studies have been on the downswing since the late 1990s. Keep this series going.

    1. Andrew Dooley

      I’m not so sure about the decline in organizational studies but I do know that I liked this book when I read it as part of a management course I took a few years ago. My class discussed it and found in it good info to apply to our everyday work.

      1. Kenny Foster

        Same here. It was required reading in my mgt classes back last year. Most of us agreed it was worth the effort to read but not necessarily a stand out book.

    2. Walter H.

      First I heard of this book was today when I read the review. I went on-line in Goodreads to see what others wrote about it. Thoughtful and overall positive critiques were many.

  6. Scotty Bush

    I’m familiar with several of Patrick Lencioni’s books and generally like them. This one is on my list to read but not a high priority. Now that you recommend it, I may get to it by the end of the year.

    1. lydia truman

      Scotty; thanks for confirming it for me.

  7. Army Captain

    Looks like a good book on organizational development.

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