By Phil Klutts
June 9, 2020

The Motive examines different leadership styles

The intense nature of this story gives the reader a condensed view of struggles, "ah-ha" moments, and practical advice.

Welcome to the first edition of Edmond Business! In this column, I will share book reviews, including my top takeaways for business leaders. Most of these books are not specific to Edmond, but I hope the impact of learning and growing will help our community succeed. Living in Edmond and raising my family here has exposed me to many of the great businesses that also call Edmond home. I’m excited to share in Edmond Business’ journey to connect more of our community together.

The Motive

by Patrick Lencioni, published February 2020

Lencioni’s latest book might end up being another bestseller. He has previously written a dozen books about building great teams, hiring the right people, and creating healthy organizations. The Motive trumps all other management tactics to focus on why leaders lead. He outlines the two distinct motivations people have that drive them to leadership. His approach is both inspiring and gut-punching for anyone in a leadership or management role. 

In his usual style, Lencioni writes a fable that puts you in the middle of a story where you can’t help but connect your own experiences with that of the main character. The intense nature of the story gives the reader a condensed view of the struggles, “ah-ha” moments, and practical advice that are sometimes never realized when trying to focus on your own leadership. The short story, covering 120 of the 170 pages, follows a CEO who spends a day with a rival — and much more successful — counterpart. The rival CEO shares his revelations about running a company and how you have to do the unpleasant parts of your job to be lead a successful group. Pride and entitlement, while not explicitly mentioned, are seen as the major hurdles to finding the right motives in the story.

Lencioni tells us that leaders, CEOs, and managers need to be “Chief Reminding Officers.” Followers and employees need to hear the same message over and over again.

Lencioni finishes the story in a warm-hearted way, but not necessarily as you would have imagined. The story includes humor, conflict, and an unexpected twist that keeps your attention. This is not a boring self-help or how-to book. Lencioni delivers both entertainment and substance. 

The practical application covers the last 50 or so pages of the book. Lencioni defines the difference between reward-centered leaders and responsibility-centered leaders. He then outlines the five most overlooked or neglected actions of reward-centered leaders and helps the reader reflect and take action on improvements. This is the part that can bring a gut punch if you aren’t ready for it. No one can completely ignore when reward motivations creep into ourselves. Lencioni is wise to add that no leader is completely pure, and the focus is to keep responsibility-focused leadership as our main driver. The action that made the most impact on me was that responsibility-centered leaders constantly repeat key messages. Lencioni tells us that leaders, CEOs, and managers need to be “Chief Reminding Officers.” Followers and employees need to hear the same message over and over again. Leaders can’t be afraid to be redundant. What is redundant to the leader is just beginning to take hold in the follower’s mind. 

Anyone can pick up The Motive and enjoy it because of the fable style and short length. The audio version is just two hours and 47 minutes long if you prefer to let someone else read to you. I recommend this book for anyone in leadership or management, from CEOs to front-line supervisors. First-time leaders and aspiring leaders will especially benefit from the perspectives shared within its pages and seeing that CEOs struggle with the same internal battles as new leaders. In addition to reading this for yourself, it would make a great gift for those you mentor.  

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About Phil Klutts

Phil is an Edmond native and has managed to keep his wife here instead of traveling the world, which they both enjoy. They have two boys who love the outdoors, adventures, and learning new things. Phil is a problem-solver at heart and enjoys connecting people to the resources they need.

In addition to being the co-owner of Edmond Business, Phil founded the CK Group LLC after working for large and small businesses in the Energy, Construction, and Fitness industries. He focuses on helping small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their systems and processes. CK Group LLC's mission is to eliminate chaos and create clarity for small business by connecting vision, strategy, and implementation.