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Episode #359: Pat Lencioni

This was recorded with hundreds of fans/friends on Zoom on April 2, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Three actions for leaders in a perilous time:
    • be exceedingly human. By that, I mean that you should demonstrate your concern for the very real fears and anxieties that your people are experiencing, not only professionally and economically, but socially and personally. Even though you don’t have definitive answers to all of their questions, don’t let that keep you from listening to them and empathizing with their fears. And, contrary to conventional wisdom, you should not be hesitant to share your own concerns with your people. They want to know that they can relate to you and that they are not alone in their concerns.
    • be persistent. This is not a time to hold back. Send people updates and regular communication, even if there is not a lot of new information and the message is largely personal. No one will look back at this time and say, “my manager was so annoying with all the encouraging emails checking in on me.” When people are isolated, over-communication is more important than ever.
    • be creative. Try new things. Call semi-regular video-conference meetings that allow employees to not only talk about work, but to share their experiences dealing with this situation. Have them share movies and games and other tools that they are finding to be helpful with their families and invite them to tell stories about what is going on in their worlds. Crises provide an opportunity for people to come to know one another and establish bonds that will endure long after the crisis is over.
  • This is not a time to be efficient. It’s a time to be present with people.  Once they get that new sense of trust, then you can move on.
  • Every company/family needs to be intentional about their thematic goal/rallying cry.
    • Cohesiveness and innovation are the themes for The Table Group
  • What we do during this time is going to be what people remember.  This is the window of opportunity.
  • People would rather be criticized than ignored.
    • The opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference.
  • Pat is looking for that sense of “peace” that no matter what happens, we will be okay. (He tells a story about an NYC priest the night before he died “I”m not afraid.”)
  • When you help others, your fears go down.
  • Idle time and worry is what makes fear rise.
  • Advice for parenting teenagers right now — “It’s a time for grace, not discipline.”
  • How to establish a safe environment?
    • Empower people to take risks.  When they stumble, it’s okay. Failure = learning moment
  • 2 biggest red flags of a bad teammate – what are the symptoms/ hardest things to overcome?
    • Insecurity and selfishness
  • Good teammates?
    • “They take ownership of their mistakes and work to correct them.” Must take ownership of it to improve.
  • The Ideal Team Player — Humble, Hungry, Smart.
  • Download for free: “The three questions to ask your family” on Pat’s website The Table Group
  • Does Love have a place in leadership?  You need to love your players even if you don’t like them. You have to do what is in their best interest.
  • Pat’s next book?
    • “The Heroic Manager”
  • The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team:
    • Absence of trust – unwilling to be vulnerable within the group
    • Fear of conflict – seeking artificial harmony over constructive passionate debate
    • Lack of commitment – feigning buy-in for group decisions creates ambiguity throughout the organization
    • Avoidance of accountability – ducking the responsibility to call peers on counterproductive behavior which sets low standards
    • Inattention to results – focusing on personal success, status and ego before team success

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