The Book of the Quarter — The Motive, by Patrick Lencioni

The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities, by Patrick Lencioni, Copyright © 2020 by Patrick Lencioni, Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey, ISBN: 2019045548

On the fifth Tuesday of each quarter, I share a book I’ve read recently. I highlighted “mustard seeds,” which impressed me. I hope you find one or two that will be helpful to you.

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“I learned that I am supposed to have the most painful job in the company” (page 58, Kindle Edition).

I’ve come to realize that some leaders fail to achieve organizational health because they possess an almost unconscious unwillingness to do the difficult tasks and confront the challenging situations that are required to bring it about. This unwillingness flows from a flawed—and dangerous—motivation for becoming a leader (page 129, Kindle Edition).

When leaders are motivated by personal reward, they will avoid the unpleasant situations and activities that leadership requires (page 132, Kindle Edition).

Reward-centered leadership: the belief that being a leader is the reward for hard work; therefore, the experience of being a leader should be pleasant and enjoyable, free to choose what they work on and avoid anything mundane, unpleasant, or uncomfortable.

Responsibility-centered leadership: the belief that being a leader is a responsibility; therefore, the experience of leading should be difficult and challenging (though certainly not without elements of personal gratification) (page 135, Kindle Edition).

One of the main responsibilities of a leader is to confront difficult, awkward issues quickly and with clarity, charity, and resolve (page 148, Kindle Edition).

One of the keys to Alan’s success was something I call “joyful accountability.” He liked to approach people who needed correction and cheerfully let them know that it was completely up to them whether they changed their behavior or attitude. He would remind them that if they couldn’t change, he would still be their friend, but they couldn’t continue to work at Ford, or Boeing (page 149, Kindle Edition).

He knew that building or turning around an organization started with changing the behaviors of the leaders who worked for him, which led to behavioral change in the rest of the organization (page 150, Kindle Edition).

I have to admit that I don’t like doing this, and I used to be really, really hesitant to do it. Until one day I realized that holding back and avoiding those conversations was actually an act of selfishness. I wasn’t avoiding those conversations for the sake of my employees’ feelings, but for my own! In the end, I was trading off my discomfort for theirs, leaving them to experience even greater pain when their shortcomings manifested themselves during a performance review, a compensation discussion, or worse yet, an exit interview. Ouch. And that’s to say nothing of what it did to the organization as a whole (pages 150,151, Kindle Edition).

I’ve read studies that say employees have to hear a message seven times before they believe executives are serious about it. Until then, they discount it as corporate speak or internal propaganda (page 158, Kindle Edition).

The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities

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Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

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