Patrick Lencioni hits another home run in his latest business fable, The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues. Lencioni tells the story of Jeff Shanley, a leader who is looking for a career change and agrees to take over his families construction company. He begins to work with his uncle Bob to slowly transition into the CEO position.
Not to spoil the plot of the book, Jeff becomes the CEO sooner than expected and needs to lead the company through the most trying times of its history. He realizes that the company’s culture will not support the changes needed due to behaviors that destroy teamwork. Jeff must crack the code on the virtues
that real team players possess, and then build a culture of hiring and development around those virtues. His Human Resources Officer and Chief of Operations call the process the “no jackass” rule and in order to be an ideal team player the person must embody three virtues;
Humble: Ideal team players are humble who lack excessive ego and are not concerned about their status. They share credit, emphasize team over self and define success collectively rather than individually.
Hungry: Ideal team players are hungry who are always looking for more things to do, to learn and looking for more responsibility to take on. Hungry people work harder because they are self-motivated and are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity.
Smart: Ideal team players are smart and have common sense about people. They know what is happening in a group situation and have good judgment and intuition around the subtleties of group dynamics and the impact of their words and actions.
Like past Lencioni books he presents a practical framework and actionable tools that you can use if you’re a leader trying to create a culture around teamwork and how to identify and hire real team players, and to see how your current team embodies the three virtues.
I would consider this a must read for any leader to take not only their team, but themselves, to the next level.