The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees)

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Patrick Lencioni, renowned business consultant and bestselling author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, is on a critical mission: create widespread job satisfaction in a world full of workplace misery. His latest book, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees), tells the inspiring tale a high-flying, but deeply dissatisfied Chief Executive Officer who ditches the power and perks for career bliss as the manager of a pizzeria! In this unusual and inspiring story, Lencioni convincingly demonstrates how career happiness (or misery) is the direct result of the manager--employee relationship. Patrick Lencioni took the time to tell us about his life-long "obsession" with job misery, shatter some myths about workplace satisfaction and offer some real advice on how to turn that daily grind into daily fulfillment. --Lauren Nemroff

Some Questions for Patrick Lencioni

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

A: As a kid, I watched my dad trudge off to work each day and became somewhat obsessed with the notion of job misery. Somewhere along the line, I came to the frightening realization that people spend so much time at work yet so many of them were unfulfilled and frustrated in their jobs. As I got older, I came to another realization--that job misery was having a devastating impact on individuals, and on society at large. It seemed to me that understanding the cause of the problem, and finding a solution for it, was a worthy focus for my career.

Q: What exactly is a miserable job?

A:A miserable job is not the same as a bad one. A bad job lies in the eye of the beholder. One person?s dream job might be another person?s nightmare. But a miserable job is universal. It is one that makes a person cynical and frustrated and demoralized when they go home at night. It drains them of their energy, their enthusiasm and their self-esteem. Miserable jobs can be found in every industry and at every level. Professional athletes, CEOs and actors can be--and often are-- as miserable as ditch diggers, janitors and fast food workers.

Q: How prevalent is job misery?

A: Attend any kind of social gathering, anywhere in the country, and talk about work. The stories and anecdotal evidence confirming job misery are overwhelming. Misery spans all income levels, ages and geography. A recent Gallup poll found that 77% of people hate their jobs. Gallup also contends that this ailing workforce is costing employers more than $350 billion dollars in lost productivity.

Q: What is the root cause of job misery?

A: The primary source of job misery and the potential cure for that misery resides in the hands of one individual--the direct manager. There are countless studies confirming this statement, including both Gallup and The Blanchard Companies. Both organizations have found that an employee?s relationship with their direct manager is the most important determinant to employee satisfaction (over pay, benefits, perks, work-life balance etc).

Even employees who are well paid, do interesting work and have great autonomy, cannot feel fulfilled in a job if their managers are not providing them with what they need on a daily or weekly basis.

Q: What are the three signs?

The first is anonymity, which is the feeling that employees get when they realize that their manager has little interest in them a human being and that they know little about their lives, their aspirations and their interests.

The second sign is irrelevance, which takes root when employees cannot see how their job makes a difference in the lives of others. Every employee needs to know that the work they do impacts someone?s life--a customer, a co-worker, even a supervisor--in one way or another.

The third sign is something I call "immeasurement," which is the inability of employees to assess for themselves their contribution or success. Employees who have no means of measuring how well they are doing on a given day or in a given week, must rely on the subjective opinions of others, usually their managers?, to gauge their progress or contribution.

Q: Why don?t managers do these things?

A: As simple as the three signs are, the fact remains that few managers take a genuine interest in their people, remind them of the impact that their work has on others, and help them establish creative ways to measure and assess their performance.

There are a number of reasons. First, many managers think they are too busy. Of course, the real problem is that most of those managers see themselves primarily as individual contributors who happen to have direct reports. They fail to realize that the most important part of their jobs is providing their people with what they need to be productive and fulfilled (a.k.a. not miserable) in their jobs.

The second reason that managers don?t provide their employees with the three things they need is that they simply forget what is was like when they were a little lower on the food chain. They somehow forget how important it was to them when a supervisor took an interest in them, talked to them about why their work really mattered and gave them a means for evaluating their progress.

Finally, many managers don?t do this because they are embarrassed or afraid to try. They fear that their employees will see them as being disingenuous or manipulative, or that by taking an interest in their personal lives they will be stepping into inappropriate territory. It?s almost as though they fail to understand the difference between the interview process (no personal questions allowed!) and the actual work experience (treat people like a full human being).

Q: What can a miserable employee do to improve his or her situation?

A: The first thing they can do is assess whether their manager is interested in and capable of addressing the three things that are required. And they have to realize that most managers really do want to improve, in spite of the fact that they may seem disinterested.

The second thing miserable employees need to do is help their managers understand what it is they need. If they have a strong relationship with their manager, they can come right out and say it ("You know, it would mean a lot to me if you knew more about who I am and what makes me tick." or, "Can you sit down and help me understand why this work I?m doing makes a difference to someone?").

Finally, employees would do well for themselves if they turned the tables and started doing for their managers what they want for themselves. For instance, employees who take a greater interest in the life of their managers are bound to infect them with the same kind of human interest. Similarly, employees who take the time to tell their managers (in a non suck-up kind of way) about the impact they have on their job satisfaction, will likely inspire them to respond in kind.

However, if an employee comes to the conclusion that his or her manager is indeed completely disinterested in helping them find fulfillment in their work, it may well be time to start looking for a new job.

Q: Why do so many professional athletes and entertainers seem miserable in their jobs?

A: In spite of the money they make and the attention they receive from fans and the media, many athletes and entertainers experience one or all of the three signs of a miserable job.

Most professional athletes feel anonymous in their jobs because their coaches and managers dedicate little, if any, time or energy getting to know them personally. I?ve had coaches tell me "Hey, these guys are professionals and this is a business. They don?t need anything special from me." Keep in mind that they are referring to young men in their early twenties who are living on their own for the first time and feel surprisingly alone--even with all the fan attention.

Entertainers are in similar situations, but for them, it is often relevance that suffers. Many actors cannot reconcile their celebrity and wealth with the fact that they see their work as being somewhat unimportant, in terms of impacting the lives of others. Perhaps that?s why so many of them get involved in charitable causes or politics--it gives them a sense of purpose.

A bestselling author and business guru tells how to improve your job satisfaction and performance.

In his sixth fable, bestselling author Patrick Lencioni takes on a topic that almost everyone can relate to: the causes of a miserable job. Millions of workers, even those who have carefully chosen careers based on true passions and interests, dread going to work, suffering each day as they trudge to jobs that make them cynical, weary, and frustrated. It is a simple fact of business life that any job, from investment banker to dishwasher, can become miserable. Through the story of a CEO turned pizzeria manager, Lencioni reveals the three elements that make work miserable -- irrelevance, immeasurability, and anonymity -- and gives managers and their employees the keys to make any job more fulfilling.

As with all of Lencioni?s books, this one is filled with actionable advice you can put into effect immediately. In addition to the fable, the book includes a detailed model examining the three signs of job misery and how they can be remedied. It covers the benefits of managing for job fulfillment within organizations -- increased productivity, greater retention, and competitive advantage -- and offers examples of how managers can use the applications in the book to deal with specific jobs and situations.

Patrick Lencioni (San Francisco, CA) is President of The Table Group, a management consulting firm specializing in executive team development and organizational health. As a consultant and keynote speaker, he has worked with thousands of senior executives and executive teams in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to high-tech startups to universities and nonprofits. His clients include AT&T, Bechtel, Boeing, Cisco, Sam?s Club, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Allstate, Visa, FedEx, New York Life, Sprint, Novell, Sybase, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Lencioni is the author of six bestselling books, including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. He previously worked for Oracle, Sybase, and the management consulting firm Bain & Company.

Customer Reviews:

  • Job dissatisfaction - erodes lives and hurts productivity. But, something can be done.
    A common theory to job satisfaction says that it is all about finding the "right job" that consists of interesting work and pays well. But, Lencioni elaborates: "My theory about job satisfaction was eroding quickly, especially as I met more and more people with supposedly great jobs who, like me, dreaded going to work. These were engineers and executives and teachers, highly educated people who carefully chose their careers based on their true passions and interests. And yet they were undoubtedly miserable. The theory crumbled completely when I came across other people with less obviously attractive jobs who seemed to find fulfillment in their work - gardeners and waitresses and hotel housekeepers." (pg. ix). Job dissatisfaction causes lots of human misery (from being more cynical, unhappy, and frustrated, to eroding passion, and affecting spouses and whole families. But, also it can have more drastic effects such as leading to serious depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and even violence at work or home. Beyond the human misery, the impact on the organization is undeniably huge. Although difficult to quantify, employee dissatisfaction has deep impact on productivity, turnover, and morale, all of which hit the company's bottom line (pg. x). Lencioni is confident that the remedy is available, it is barely being used, perhaps because it is simple and obvious. Quoting Samuel Johnson: "People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed." (pg. x).

    The story begins with Brian who was a successful CEO of a large company, and now just going into retirement. Being better off financially than ever in his life, he is considering how to fill his days. We hear about Brian's humble beginnings, modest educational background (college drop-out), but having a strong work ethic and desire to learn, slowly advancing and getting promoted, to eventually become the CEO of the company. Not atypical for America, I personally know people like that! While at a first site, retiring at a nice little mountain home may seem wonderful, it can also be aimless and unfulfilling. So, Brian finds something to do and along the way teaches the reader something about job satisfaction (something that he had also dealt with at his old company). So, the story goes on.

    The 3 signs are: (1) anonymity - cannot be fulfilled at your work if you are not known and appreciated for your unique qualities (or gifts) by someone in authority; (2) irrelevance - people need to know that their job matters to someone; (3) immeasurement - everyone needs to be able to gauge their progress and level of contribution, rather than relying on the opinions or whims of another person, tangible means for assessing success or failure. Maybe you see these as obvious, but how they play out in regular day work environment, and how to correct the situation is not necessarily obvious. At the end of the book, Lencioni has few chapters directed at analyzing in more depth the causes of misery and how to address them, the obstacles that employees face, the ones that managers face, as well as adding few additional and small case studies. Easy to read and highly rewarding for anybody who works in any environment.

    If you work in a Christian ministry or you are a Christian, you can consider this story as a modern day parable. Though secular, the principles are Biblically sound: anonymity = we all want to be recognized as uniquely created by God, irrelevance = we want to have meaning to our life and work, immeasurement = we will not be satisfied if we cannot show fruits to our labor, fruits of our repentance from our sins (precondition to being saved). The Bible says that we ought to work in everything as working for the Lord, very consistent with the message of this book, both for managers and employees.

    If you liked this book, you may also like: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon's Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness.
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  • Fortunately, Lencioni Was In A Miserable Job...
    Work has always held a special fascination for author Pat Lencioni. As a child, he could not believe adults, like his dad, worked eight hours a day, or more, with most not liking their jobs. "Why would people spend so much time away from family and friends and not be happy?" He feared he would meet the same fate... He did, but he refused to settle for misery and changed careers.

    Fortunately, for Lencioni and for us, he has found his calling and is fulfilling his purpose by sharing his observations about what it takes to make the work experience something to look forward to, something meaningful.

    In his sixth book, "The Three Signs of a Miserable Job," Lencioni identifies the three causes of job misery - irrelevance, immeasurement, and anonymity - and provides an antidote for each. "Three signs" utilizes a fable to drive home each of the "three signs" and the "cure."

    Protagonist Brian Bailey loves being a manager, but he has just retired and is bored. After several visits to a local restaurant where he gets poor service and the employees appear to be disinterested in their jobs, Bailey buys into it. He then sets about implementing a "get well" program to turn around the restaurant by changing the employee's attitude toward their jobs.

    Lencioni repeats the fundamentals of his "ending misery" model with a second application to a larger company when Bailey returns as CEO of a company in the industry he left.

    The principles Lencioni hammers-on will resonate with all who work. He points out that job misery is widespread (a recent PEW study estimates 75%). It affects all who work, the high and mighty as well as those not so high or mighty - doctors, nurses,CEOs of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, bricklayers, toll booth operators, retail employees, sales people, Hollywood stars and other celebrities, pastors, athletes, or any other group you can name!

    Managers, employees, head hunters, or recent college graduates will find "Three Signs" to be a critical addition to their library. It provides a clear course of action for those who want to ensure they are not creating misery and discernment for those seeking to escape misery.

    And if you have had the chance to meet Pat Lencioni or hear him speak, you would agree he has put his plan into action - he is not miserable, he is having the time of his life "at work."

    ...more info
  • Practical Advice for Managers
    I picked up this book while on the run. I was intrigued by the title and, more importantly, have been impressed by Lencioni over the years. I've read some of his other books and heard him speak at a conference. Plus, I am always on the lookout for management wisdom because I think we can all use more!

    I read the Wall Street Journal review of his book and had to say that I thought it was an unfair review. Although I don't know the reviewer, I do wonder whether the reviewer has ever managed people or been in a situation similar to that of Brian (the main character in the story).

    Traditional management theory is hard to really apply on a day-to-day basis; I feel that much of it is written for huge companies--not small ones. I thought that this book was fairly easy to apply for the small business owner because it is based on a small pizza place. The author does a very nice job of developing the can almost hear the voices of the employees as they all seem to personify others that we've all worked with: the eager beaver, the dissenter, the high-maintenance person, etc. This made the book practical for me as I envisioned the character's problems and attempted solutions.

    I also felt that the author's voice was one of reality and practicality--not ivory tower idealism. He does a good job of saying things like (and I'm paraphrasing) "I know this sounds soft" or "this may sound hokey" to confirm those very thoughts.

    I believe that the book highlights many important and thought provoking points that bear mentioning: (a) many managers simply manage when they can instead of making a point to do so, (b) the rules of employee engagement differ before and after an interview, (c) some research suggests that aligning financial rewards with goals is not necessarily the right approach, (d) a big part of a manager's job is to get employees to like their jobs, and (e) employees need measurement goals that they can directly impact--not just broad macro goals that they really can't.

    I think that the book could have done a better job of explaining how this process is tied to real business results. It seems to simply suggest (albeit vaguely) that happier workers lead to better business results. That makes sense, but I think that point needs further development and discussion.

    Overall, I really enjoyed the book and it left me with a series of things to think about and implement.

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  • Another Lencioni Winner!
    Lencioni does it again, luring his readers into a ridiculously simple yet incredibly insightful summary of how people work and work together. He once again proves that common sense is not so common!

    Our fictional hero discovers three things that make a job intolerable and dull. 1. Anonymity--people who see themselves as invisible cannot shine and love their jobs, 2. Irrelevance--if your work doesn't matter to anyone, why do it or bother doing it well?, and 3. Immeasurement--employees cannot find satisfaction if their success depends on the whims of others and not measurable results that they can see immediately for themselves.

    This is a must read for all managers!...more info
  • Hey, it's (mostly) in English!
    I'd like to start off by mentioning that "immeasurement" is not a word. If this author is going to write on a subject that has to do with the business environment in the United States, why does he need to make up words? This is just silly and sets the tone for the rest of the book.

    The people that have read this book and really take something away from it must have been exceptionally poor managers or exceptionally simple workers. If you're really interested in why your employees are upset, put the book down, walk over to them and ask them.

    Perhaps the employees should realize that they are provided a metric for their performance when they receive their paycheck. Maybe we are supposed to be anonymous. I don't always want to be seen at work. I'm busy and this isn't a social club. Your job is not always the best venue to feel important or relevant.

    America, please stop being such a bunch of hippies in group therapy sessions, sharing and caring. Do your job, get your money and go home. Seek validation elsewhere if you need it.

    I gave the book two stars because there's always the one moron in management that's at the bottom of the barrel, who could learn something from this book. ...more info
  • A Way Out of the Misery
    Through a fable about a former CEO wrestling with retirement, Lencioni reveals the three signs of a miserable job:

    Anonymity - the feeling that you are unknown and not understood as an individual
    Irrelevance - the feeling that your job doesn't matter
    "Immeasurement" - the inability to gauge progress.

    By taking a personal interest in people's lives, helping them realize the impact their jobs have on others, and by helping them find measures to gauge their progress, Brian resurrects multiple companies proving that the principles apply regardless of company size or industry.

    At the conclusion of the fable, the author explains the 3 signs in more detail, provides tips for how to address them for various job types, and finally explains how to implement a winning strategy to turn your organization around.

    Lencioni emphasizes the simplicity of these concepts. Unfortunately, they are not that easy to execute. It is well worth the time and effort to do so, though, and this book will assist.

    Nick McCormick, Author - Lead Well and Prosper: 15 Successful Strategies for Becoming a Good Manager...more info
  • Good Fable
    This is a really good fable in terms of being happy and engaged at your job. I also recommend reading "Zenobia: The Curious Book of Business"Zenobia: The Curious Book of Business: A Tale of Triumph Over Yes-Men, Cynics, Hedgers, and Other Corporate Killjoys (Business), which was released in January and is also a brilliant rendering of how to overcome corporate entrenchment in a fable form....more info
  • Lencioni's Latest is Terrific
    I am a big fan of Patrick Lencioni, and his latest book, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job is a terrific addition to his previous publications. Lencioni's engaging story-telling style is easy to digest, and his simple, yet powerful messages about employee engagement remind us how easily we can have an impact on other people's lives. His solutions are practical, relevant, and implementable from the shop floor to the board room. ...more info
  • Great experience for leaders
    Each leader on his/her environment should read the book. It is easy to read, comprehend and make it a tool for better managing people. I read it and have put it to use in my work with great results. A lot of leaders forget that they have employees, who they never even talk to them. As I read the book, I knew that trying to know better your people would bring a sense of satisfaction and ways to improve the team's goal....more info
  • Read it, Use it!
    This is an excellent book for managers of all levels. I love his entire series of fables--they are interesting, easy reads--but this one is especially great. You can immediately take it back to your workplace and implement it.

    Making people feel valued and measuring their work is absolutely simplistic, and he makes you feel good about it. Sometimes those simple things feel too silly to take into action at work, but he addresses that in this book....more info
  • Must read for managers
    Patrick Lencioni's best book yet. Very easy read but the concepts are unbelievably powerful....more info
  • Memo to Everyone I've Worked With! I'm Sorry!
    Memo to Everyone I've Worked With Over the Last 40 Years: I'm sorry! Honest! Had Patrick Lencioni written this book 40 years ago, when I assumed my first summer management position, I would have been a better leader and more nurturing manager.

    His book will get your management juices going again. It's a five-star, must-read, very, very important book. (I've just moved it onto my Top 10 books of all time list--it's that good.)

    In story fashion, Lencioni helps us discover why so many CEOs, senior leaders, managers and employees are miserable at work--and what to do about it. His diagnosis is simple, yet profound. The story gives practical solutions and the book concludes with a this-makes-sense discussion of next steps and case studies. Gratefully, he's also posted "miserable" resources on his website, including the anti-misery worksheet for managers.
    ...more info
  • Thought Provoking
    A quick read that leaves a lasting impression. I especially liked the idea of viewing managing others similar to a ministry. Good book well worth the time to read....more info
  • Make sure the job you get doesn't include these signs!
    `The Three Signs of a Miserable Job' tells the intriguing fable of Brian Bailey. Brian is a successful manager and CEO, without a college degree, who converts his miserable employees into happy ones. We follow his struggles and highs and learn how humanity can lead to great business success.

    Anyone who can relate to being miserably employed will benefit from the inspired solutions within this book. Patrick M. Lencioni shares his approach to making work rewarding and meaningful. Irrelevance, immeasurability, and anonymity are the three key characteristics of a miserable job and Lencioni gives us the key to turning things around.

    He inspires us to actually want to get out of bed and head to work in the morning! For anyone stuck in a miserable workplace with no hope we learn that there is hope, that happy workplaces exist and just how to recognize them.

    This is a useful read for both managers seeking to make their employees jobs more fulfilling and job seekers looking to recognize the kind of work place they should be seeking out.

    Danny Iny
    Author of the free eBook "Forget Everything You Know About Looking For a Job... And Actually Find One!"
    HuntingToHired, info
  • When will they ever learn?
    This book should be recommended reading for everyone who manages people. The concepts couldn't be simpler yet they are completely foreign, at least to most of the managers I've endured. (I talk about them in my own book "You're Not the Boss of Me: Empowerment Strategies for an Imperfect Workplace).
    Take the idea of anonymity. My current boss gave me a movie pass for my birthday. Nice of him, right? Well, my husband is legally blind and I have been to the movies maybe twice in the past five years.
    In the little fable in this book, the author describes how the manager of a restaurnat goes to a soccer game to watch two of his employees play. Out of a staff of five, two of us sing with a symphony chorus several times a year. Our manager has not been to a single performance in the two years I've worked for him.
    Why, when there are so many good management books out there, are the ideas never practiced?
    ...more info
  • Helpful and inspirational
    My husband, an engineer, was recently promoted into a management position. He has been quite concerned about how to motivate his team and get them to develop a good work ethic and strategies for getting their projects accomplished. I was poking around on Amazon and found this book. After reading the description, I thought it may be helpful for him. At first, he didn't think it would be all that helpful, but as he got into it, he found that it helped him put words to things he had been seeing as well as providing him with some strategies for motivating his team. He has thanked me profusely for giving him the book. He liked the fact that it was written in a story format because it made for an easy, enjoyable read. He certainly did not need a dry, 10 point "how to" reference book at this stage. He's got enough on his plate....more info
  • The Answers are Here -- Now Go Implement Them!
    Patrick Lencioni has a gift for taking complex problems, boiling them down to their critical components and then providing viable solutions in easy-to-read fable format. His latest work, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, is another excellent example of his talent in action.

    I'll admit that I was a bit apprehensive about this one. Everyone has aspects of their job they don't enjoy, but do you really want to read a book about why those things make you miserable, especially if you feel they can't be changed? Having read The Three Signs, I can honestly say the answer to this question is yes, you should. Read it if you're a manager so that you can consider Lencioni's advice for your employees. But regardless of whether or not you're a manager, read it and see if you can encourage your manager to read it; maybe you could even leave it on his/her chair anonymously after you've read it yourself...

    Here are some of my favorite excerpts from this fantastic book:

    "Too often, (companies) are slow to recognize that they have an employee satisfaction issue, and then when they finally do, their attempts to address it focus on the wrong issues."

    (Regarding exit interviews...) "The problem, of course, is that departing employees rarely tell the whole story. By the time people decide to leave an organization, they have little incentive to tell their soon-to-be-former employer the truth -- that they are leaving because their supervisor didn't really manage them, and without a good manager, their jobs eventually become miserable."

    "Even in those instances when executives are able to discern that poor management is the real source of employee dissatisfaction, their response, though well-intentioned, is rarely effective. That response usually takes the form of more management training, which often includes mandatory classes..."

    "And so I suppose that the real shame is not that more people aren't working in positions of service to others, but that so many managers haven't yet realized that they already are."

    This book has given me much to think about in my own role as both employee and manager. Now it's up to me to figure out how to implement Lencioni's advice to improve the situation on both fronts....more info
  • Help your employees enjoy their jobs!
    This exceptionally written book is a quick read, but offers sound managerial principles for improving the morale of personnel. I found that some of what I currently do is what Mr. Lencioni recommends, but he has taken what I do a step further, intensifying the results. He also recommends that the manager and employees take co-responsibility for implentation. I intend to put the three principles into practice over the next few months and see how much better the employees like coming to work, as well as what kind of improvements there are to the work....more info
  • Absolutely Amazing
    This is the second of Lencioni's books I've read and I'm hooked! It is incredibly easy to read and I couldn't set it down. Not only did I want to know more about the "theory", I enjoyed the story.

    The signs are simple and obvious and yet so logical... They are staring us in the face every day!

    ...more info
  • Simple and Profound
    If you employ people, regardless of the size of your organization (even babysitters count!), are a chair of a non-profit board or of you coordinate volunteers--in short, if you play any role in which you depend on people, then you will want to read The Three Signs of A Miserable Job. This is Patrcik Lencioni's sixth book and it is both simple and profound.
    The core idea can be stated in two sentences: When people feel fulfilled at work, they are more productive and reliable. Fulfillment is a consequence of being known, knowing who and how you impact the lives of others in your work and having clear ways of measuring your impact. While these ideas are simple, many of us struggle with putting them into practice. This is often a large area of focus with my coaching clients-their own fulfillment and the fulfillment of their team.
    ...more info
  • Excellent book!
    I'd recommend that anyone and everyone read this book. It's great for managers AND those who report to a manager (and in any working environment). A good read and easy to follow!...more info
  • Another great book by Lencioni! A must read for anyone trying to create a better work environment and increase productivity.
    After reading "The Five Temptations of a CEO" by Patrick Lencioni, I was looking forward to reading this one. The book is the fable of a CEO that has great success running an exercise equipment manufacturer that eventually gets sold and leaves him in an unwanted retirement. During his tenure at the company, Brian (the main character), had great success turning what was once a small company with a tiny market share to a successful medium size company with a sizable portion of the market. Brian loved his job and he never really identified the secret to his success. He would just write it off as "treating people the way he wanted to be treated". When the company finally sold he explained to his friend that he believed the culture of the company was what made the company so great to what his friend dismissed as "soft" touchy-feely nonsense.

    Brian, not coping well with the inactivity of his retirement, was driving himself mad with no problems to solve and he also wanted to prove to his friend and himself that his success at his previous company was caused by the culture he created, his friend contended that the culture was a result of winning and therefore of no real value.

    The former CEO set out to work as a manager of a small Italian restaurant close to his house - he had trouble convincing the owner to give him a job due to his qualifications and an even harder time convincing his wife he wasn't going crazy. During his brief stay there he created his management theories of "Immeasurement, Irrelevance & Anonymity" and later went out and applied the same theories to a sporting goods store.

    Immeasurement : If you can't measure progress at work your job will become miserable

    Irrelevance: If you're not making a difference in people's life your job will become miserable

    Anonymity: If you are not recognized and known by your co-workers and managers your job will eventually become miserable

    This is a must read for managers. It turns a cold work environment into a thriving organization where people genuinely love their work. Whenever I have been in a productive work environment one or more of these principles were being used. Patrick Lencioni now delivers them to all of us in a nice little package ready to be opened at the next company meeting.

    The ideas in this book will seem so tremendously obvious, once you read them, that you will scratch your head in amazement. However they are as unknown to most corporations as Osama's whereabouts and as unpracticed as premarital sex. This is very powerful stuff, written in an extremely easy to read and understand format. Enjoy!
    ...more info
  • Another Fun and Valuable Fable!
    The fable-telling Patrick Lencioni has written another enjoyable and insightful book. For those who learn by example, this book is for you. The "Three Signs" themselves are not going to be "new" to most readers. That should not come as a surprise. It is the common sense approach to management that Lencioni presents and it is this same approach that can be so easily overlooked. Lencioni reminds us that we manage people and people need to be understood and appreciated, they need to know what they do matters, and they need to be able to measure their progress in their own way. Common sense - yet, critical to success. Another wonderful book by Patrick Lencioni!...more info
  • 3 Signs, one of the best yet
    This is one of Patrick's best yet. I have all the others. Am planning to use this in our employee evaluation process and my strength building exercise....more info
  • Every Manager should read this book.....
    Thank you for asking for a review on this book!
    I fully agree that the title may be misleading for some, especially those looking for a "how to " identify a bad job situation.
    The reality is, that this book, explains in a narrative style the direct relationship between managers, their employees and how this relationship directly effects customers, customer satisfaction and in turn sales and revenue.
    Also perhaps some impetus for personal reflection an management and leadership style.
    Great airplane reading, high highly recommend to anyone leading a team!
    Torsten Gessner...more info
  • Good Fable that Provokes Thought
    This book was a quick read that provokes thought. A miserable job isn't necessarily the one that has bad hours or low pay. Lencioni identifies anonymity (no one knows the employee personally), irrelevance (the employee feels work benefits no one), and immeasurability (the employee has no way to know/measure how he is performing). The book encourages managers to get to know their employees on a more personal level and help the employees understand who benefits from their work. These "touchy-feely" ways help employees feel more connected to the job and to co-workers. Certainly worth reading - especially if you put aside skepticism and give his ideas a try....more info
  • excellent
    This is the best reading leadership book I have ever read. I couldn't put it down....more info


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