#SHRM 17- Report on Patrick Lencioni


Day three of the conference started off with a keynote address by Patrick Lencioni, the author of the book The Ideal Team Player and founder of The Table Group. His presentation was very interesting and I have tried to capture the high points below.

The old model

Lencioni started off by telling us that the old model of trying to construct teams is dysfunctional. We try to construct teams based on five characteristics. These are trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and results. Unfortunately we have not been successful with such a model. Most teams based on these five characteristics breakdown in some aspects and quickly become dysfunctional. He proposes a new model based on three values.

His model

Lencioni says that to be the ideal team player you have to have three values. First you have to be humble. This does not mean they discount their abilities, they just don’t brag about it. Secondly, you have to be hungry. This means you want to do more. You have to have a high work ethic, but they are not workaholics. Lastly the ideal team player has to be smart. This is however, not just raw intelligence. This means people smart, they have to have common sense around people. (Perhaps this could be termed Emotional Intelligence?) Below is a diagram that Lencioni used, recreated by me. In this diagram you see the three values and labels associated with them.

Necessary to have all three values

Lencioni says that to have an ideal team player an individual has to have all three values. Otherwise you end up with dysfunctional players on your team. These include:

·         The Pawn- This person has only the HUMBLE value. They are a mass of humility, but are easily taken advantage of by other players.

·         The Bulldozer- This person only has the value of HUNGRY. They work to achieve, but for themselves. They are the ones who run over the Pawn.

·         The Charmer- They have the value of being SMART, but that is all and they will not work well with others.

There is another group of people who will have two of the three values. These include:

·         The Accidental Mess Maker- This is the person who is humble yet hungry. They screw things up in their scramble to achieve but not take responsibility.

·         The Loveable Slacker- This person is humble and smart but they don’t have the drive to achieve.

·         The Skillful Politician- This person is hungry and smart, but they are the “credit takers. They know how to fake humility.

Lencioni says you want to avoid hiring these six types.

Improving your team

He says that you can use this model to improve a current team. There are three steps to making this work.

1.      Apply this to yourself. Look in the mirror and determine if you lacking one of the three values.

2.      Help team members identify and acknowledge their areas for improvement.

3.      Once weaknesses are identified, the leader has to constantly remind team members what their areas of improvement and you have to keep reminding them in order for them to get better.

You can also improve a team by hiring correctly to begin with.  Lencioni says we have to stop focusing on hiring for technical skills and instead hire for attitude. Technical skills quickly become obsolete. He gives us four tips for effective interviewing:

1.      Avoid silo interviewing. Use team interviews or at least have the interviewers talk to each other to pass on areas to be further explored.

2.      Conduct non-traditional interviews. Take them out into the real world to see how they react. He gave an example of getting to a restaurant early for an interview and arranging for the candidate to have the wrong order delivered, in order to see how they react.

3.      Ask questions more than once. He calls this the “Law and Order” style of interviewing.

4.      Scare people with sincerity. Get them to reveal their core values.

He ended his presentation by saying that people in HR are missionaries with the goal of changing the world. 




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