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The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive

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The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive

A Leadership Fable


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Can you make an executive fairytale come true? You’ll need leadership, clarity, communication and perfect HR.

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


This is a good book for people who like parables. The fable centers around an unfocused man swamped by rivalry, envy, manipulation and betrayal. He never sees that his most threatening rival, though not as flashy as he is, has the stick-to-it commitment of a carnival pony that would continue walking the same tight circle even if someone took off its harness. To succeed, you need that kind of persistence plus a few straightforward disciplines including internal unity, clear purpose, open communication and personnel policies that reflect your values. In short, if you pick key disciplines and stick to them, you’ll go far. You’ve heard this sweet if shallow lesson before, in the fable of the tortoise and the hare. That fable endured for centuries because it puts a simple truth in a few words using a vivid analogy. That is the kind of veracity this book is aiming for and though it may achieve a shorter reach, its wrap-up analysis and work sheets extend its practicality. recommends its bolstering message - if not its simplistic structure - to managers who like metaphors.


The Heart of the Matter

The key to successful management is to spot a few things that will make a difference in your organization and then concentrate on doing them.

Successful organizations are smart and healthy. A smart organization shows its intelligence in its thoughtful strategies, well-designed products and solid financial infrastructure. A smart organization uses careful and caring personnel policies, in-depth communication and sound, effective marketing to beat its competition. Healthy organizations get smarter and smarter. They are unified, not splintered by politics and infighting. They survive and prosper even in hard times. Employees stay committed to them.

Only the boss, the top dog, the CEO can make an organization healthy. All health and goodness flows from the corner office. The boss has the touch of kings. To exercise this healing touch, the boss has to do four things obsessively:

  1. Build a united leadership team.
  2. Dispel confusion at the upper levels and maintain unity.
  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  4. Use human systems to sharpen and clarify the organization’s focus...

About the Author

Patrick Lencioni is author of the best-selling The Five Temptations of a CEO and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. He’s president of the Table Group, a management-consulting firm in the San Francisco Bay area.

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