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The HaBO Village Podcast

"The Ideal Team Player" Book Review [Podcast]

Episode 24: Michael and Kathryn review Patrick Lencioni's book, "The Ideal Team Player" and discuss how it will help you hire, fire, and evaluate current employees in your Passion and Provision Company.

Smiley faces on a notepad

In This Episode You Will Learn:

  • The 3 core attributes Lencioni identifies as what makes up an ideal team player - Humble, Hungry, and Smart.

  • The different categories of people who only have 1 or 2 out of the 3 core attributes.

  • Why you don't want to inaccurately label people, but instead seek to understand to what degree people have these 3 attributes.

  • How using tools, like Lencioni's book, will help you build organizational health and grow your Passion and Provision company.

    book cover of the ideal team player

"It is not always easy to tell the difference between arrogance and confidence properly placed"

– Kathryn Redman

References:

The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni

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Michael:       Hello there and welcome back to HaBO Village Podcast. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
      And I'm Kathryn Redman, his slightly less enthusiastic wife.


Michael:
      We're here today. Thank you for joining us. We're excited to have you here. We appreciate you taking the time. Today, we think we're going to talk about ... Not think. We are going to talk about emotional health, organizational health and we're going to talk about one of the authors that we think is really, really valuable because one of the things we do is we help source a lot of information out there for you and our clients. Because everything we know, everything we do, we've learned from other people.


Kathryn:
      There are people out there who are so freaking smart and so our goal sometimes is just to expose you to these people, encourage you to read what they're doing and just let you know what's happening out there.


Michael:
      So today we're going to talk about this organizational health and we're going to talk about Lencioni's book. Patrick Lencioni's or Lencioni.


Kathryn:
      Lencioni. It looks like Lencioni but I think-


Michael:
      No, I think-


Kathryn:
      Does he say Lencioni?


Michael:
      Lencioni.


Kathryn:
      Okay.


Michael:
      Yeah, I've heard him say it. Anyway, he wrote a new book called The Ideal Team Player. We heard him a couple of weeks ago. You probably have heard, we've talked about that on the podcast before. He was really powerful and there was one thing that we wanted to make sure we talked about in the midst of that and that was, what makes up an ideal team player in your company, your organization.


Kathryn:
      So you know how sometimes you come across something and you think, oh my goodness, you just codified something so simply that we know intuitively but have not been able to put into words. And it was incredibly helpful to us. We had a couple of our staff members with us, it was incredibly helpful to them. So we want to talk about the ideal team player.


Michael:
      Yeah. Okay. There are three values, if you've got your notebooks out today or you can, you can come back to this and we're going to restate at the end. But there are three core attributes that together they create a lot of power. Individually, they're good values but they're not as strong or powerful and that's where the magic comes in this. So they have these three core values and the three core values are ... Kathryn.


Kathryn:
      Three core values are humble, hungry and smart. And before we go too far, we want to make sure we identify exactly what is meant by those so that you're not confused.


Michael:
      Yes. So humble, go ahead.


Kathryn:
      So humble basically is somebody who doesn't think about themselves all the time. We're not talking about somebody who is easily walked on or does not value themselves. That's not humility. Humility probably ... I think the best definition I ever heard was confidence properly placed.


Michael:
      Yeah, that's the one I like the most.


Kathryn:
      Yeah. It's kind of a right assessment of who you are. But a humble person is somebody who it is not all about them. They are not doing life and doing their job simply to self-promote. They care about other people, they want to be part of a team. So they're just folks who can correctly assess their strengths and their weaknesses and they think of others at least as much as thinking of themselves. C.S. Lewis defined it a little bit differently too. He said, a humble person is someone who ... To have humility it's not thinking less of yourself, it's just thinking of yourself less. So that's another fun definition.


Michael:
      It's not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.


Kathryn:
      So Michael, what is hungry?


Michael:
      Understanding ... Well, I really just kind of want to underscore confidence properly placed. Because the difference between two people who both say, of course, I can do this. I know I can do this. One is bragging, the other one is just admitting what they can do. Both might be able to do it but one is also coming out of ... The bragging often comes out of an insecurity. So these attributes, humble, it's a whole package and it's worth studying on its own. Hungry. Hungry means that you have a desire for more. You have ambitions. That's the word I was looking for, and ambitions are really actually important.


Michael:
      As in every characteristic if it's out of balance, it can be unhealthy. But a healthy sense of hungry ambition means that you are wanting more. What you have you can appreciate and value but growing is going to be important. Personal growth, company growth. If you're a salesperson, are you growing your commissions? Are you growing your bottom line of the company? Are you helping meet your goals? Hungry means that you're not just going to settle with just enough.


Kathryn:
      I mean, and a hungry person is someone who's got a really good work ethic. They're self-initiating. They're somebody who you don't have to babysit every step of the way. They take initiative. When they run out of things to do they're asking, what can I do to help? All those kinds of things. We're not talking about, again, at the extreme, we're not looking for people who are workaholics but looking for people who are strong workers. People who want to grow and want more. They're hungry. They're not just satisfied with the status quo. So that's kind of what he means by hungry.


Michael:
      Yeah. Lencioni says this, "Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they're self-motivated and diligent." That's a good quote.


Kathryn:
      Love that. Then there's smart which is probably the most easily misunderstood. So when we're talking about smart, he's not talking about somebody who has technical skills, he's not talking about IQ, he's actually talking about one of our favorite subjects that we have spoken with you about before and that is somebody who is emotionally smart. Somebody who's got a high EQ, somebody who's aware of people, who has common sense around people. Who can read people and understand kind of what's happening in a room because they have a good sense of that room. So that's what he means by smart.


Michael:
      Yeah. Simply, and I love this, this is simple. Smart simply refers to a person's common sense about people. Really basic. And understanding that humility is the most important part of these trio, then hungry and smart to combine into that, and the trick is that they would live inside. This quote out of his book ... I'm quoting a lot but we're talking about his book and it's some marvelous stuff. "What makes humble, hungry and smart powerful and unique is not the individual attributes themselves but rather the required combination of all three." This is really important. And when you live, if you think about a Venn diagram and you have these three attributes, he does this in his book.


Michael:
      I love Venn diagrams because they communicate very well. So you got three circles that overlap and in the middle is the ideal team player. But there are some problems and challenges that can come along with this that you need to be aware of as you're watching your team or interviewing for new people. And that is, when they are missing one or more of these characteristics.


Kathryn:
      And he would say that if you're looking to build a really strong team, a leadership team, a management team. If you have people that are consistently absent one of these traits, you're going to have a really hard time getting stuff done. You're going to have a really hard time achieving work and sometimes it becomes almost impossible.


Michael:
      So let's real quickly run through. If you're humble or if you're lacking in humility, he refers to that as the pawn.


Kathryn:
      That's the person who's only humble. Right?


Michael:
      Yes, you're right.


Kathryn:
      So if you're humble and you don't have the other two attributes, you're just a pawn. You can be used, people can move you around, do whatever they want.


Michael:
      Because you get into this scenario where this is the type of person you know is, oh, not me. Oh, I'm not the best for that. And they're always deferring, always deferring, always deferring. And if you tell them to do something like, okay, I'll do that. When they're on the team, they're not going to be hungry or smart, they're just going to be humble and there's going to be a problem with that. When you have somebody who's hungry-


Kathryn:
      They're your bulldozer.


Michael:
      Just hungry. They're not humble and they are not smart. So what they're doing is you have this totally aggressive desire, they're not satisfied with the status quo, but they have no humility there. It's all about themselves and they are not smart, they have no common sense of interacting with other people.


Kathryn:
      So they're going to get a ton of stuff done but they're just going to leave a trail of dead bodies behind them.


Michael:
      Totally. So that's the hungry.


Kathryn:
      Then we've all smart. This person who's smart that doesn't have humble, humility or hunger, that person is the schmoozer. The charmer.


Michael:
      And this is a dangerous, dangerous person.


Kathryn:
      Yeah. Somebody who just knows how to talk their way into a room but they really don't care about you at all and they just want-


Michael:
      And they work it. Here's what they do, they work it, they get what they want and they don't support the team. They don't get work done, they always has an excuse. Oh, you know and blah, blah, blah and blah, blah, blah. So you can't depend on them. It's either all about ... Because they're not hungry, remember this, they're not hungry so they're fine with the status quo. They're not humble, they don't care about you but they're incredibly aware of how to interact with other people. So they're selfish and they're unmotivated and so now you've got this manipulator. So that's what happens when you have just one of those characteristics. Now, what happens when you have only two of the characteristics? You actually have three more personas that pop up.


Kathryn:
      Three more possibilities. So the first one is if you have a team player who's humble and hungry but not smart. So this is a person who's not kind of aware of other people, they're not very good at understanding what's happening with other people. So he titles them the accidental mess maker. They mean well but they're just kind of difficult to manage because they just don't ... They don't interact with other people well. And so they hurt other people's feelings. They don't mean to. They sometimes will bulldoze their way through something, not because they are trying to gain glory because they've got humility but they just need to get stuff done, and they end up just kind of injuring other people on the team. They're sweet and they don't mean to hurt yet but they just do.


Michael:
      And as a leader you just go nuts because you've got this person who you don't feel like you can fire them, they're hard to discipline and they don't ... What's interesting is they'll listen to correction but you can't get them to act on it. You have to spend so much more time holding them accountable-


Kathryn:
      After cleaning up their messes.


Michael:
      And you try and desperately go, do you realize that you just ... It's kind of an another form of problems or dead bodies in the wake because they're not smart. Okay. Then you have ... Let's say you have a person who is humble and smart but not hungry. Humble and smart but not hungry.


Kathryn:
      So this is your lovable slacker. So this is a person who-


Michael:
      They're really lovable.


Kathryn:
      They're super sweet, they just aren't going to get it done because they're not hungry.


Michael:
      I'm not sure because of this if the accidental mess maker is somebody you really like a lot. I mean, because-


Kathryn:
      You may not.


Michael:
      You may not like them because-


Kathryn:
      He would say they're the least dangerous of the three because they actually get work done and they move things forward. Whereas you take the second one who's humble and smart and they're just kind of a slacker. They're the clock in at 8:00, clock out at 5:00. They're just kind of going through the motions. They're maybe what we would call in a different podcast people who are more like sleepwalking on their jobs.


Michael:
      They're definitely not engaged. It is tough to teach somebody to be hungry. It's just hard to do that. And sometimes you want to try and starve them enough of something, but it's amazing how somebody who, that lovable slacker, they're way more into not working hard than they are into being motivated by starving.


Kathryn:
      They're hard to get rid of because they're so lovable and everybody likes them. They like having them around because they're smart with other people, they're tuned in to how you're doing. It's just that they're going to sit in your office for an hour and talk about life and not get any work done sometimes.


Michael:
      And here's what's important to know that there's two different aspects here. One is you're using this book and these principles to hire. You want to go through this and look at this and really think about and train in this area, how do I hire better? Then if you've already hired and you're looking at your staff, how do I assess and then how do I manage or lead these people? And when you're in that situation, you've got to figure out different ways to hold them accountable and set standards, and with this person, you've got to have standards.


Michael:
      Sometimes what's happening is you can have a great employee in this category of lovable slacker and oftentimes they're not hitting their numbers. But a lot of times in companies, the numbers or the requirements and expectations aren't clear. So you have to make them clear, if you're going to manage this person, and you have to set them high enough that you're okay if all they hit is the minimum requirements.


Kathryn:
      And then you have to hold them accountable.


Michael:
      And then you have to hold them accountable. Then you can move them through and move them out of the organization. You've been caring enough, you've done the right thing, you have taken the time and energy to do your job, is to set standards and set expectations clear. We've talked about human performance on this podcast before and that's important. So the ideal ... The lovable slacker. Now, when you have somebody who's hungry and smart but lacks humility, they're the skillful politician.


Kathryn:
      This is the most dangerous person to have on a team because it's really all about them. It's all about their ego but they also know how to read people. So they know how to tell people what they want to hear to position themselves well.


Michael:
      Yeah. They can be professional charismatic. They're motivated, they want to get places but there's a huge warning here.


Kathryn:
      They don't care about the team and they don't care about the overall organization. They care about furthering their own ends and building their resume.


Michael:
      Because when you talk about lacking humility, they're not walking in that place that says, I don't think less of myself, I just think of myself less often. They're thinking the opposite.


Kathryn:
      Only of themselves. When something happens, this is the person who when something happens on a team, they want to take all the credit. They're the ones that care a great deal about their title and their position. I mean, they're they're masterful at getting things done and moving things forward but they're dangerous as all heck for your team.


Michael:
      Yeah. So what you have here and we're going to give you a warning in a minute in the midst of ... So just some things you need to think about. But let's go over these again. The three values are humble, hungry and smart. Ideally, the ideal team member, the way Lencioni is talking about it and we've seen this over and over again, is to make sure that there's a balance. They're living most of the time in the middle of it. Now, right now is probably a good time just for us to take a step back and go, this is what we do at Half a Bubble Out. And if there is an opportunity for us to serve you and you want to read the book but you want to go a step further, go to a halfabubbleout.com, our website and give us a call or fill out a contact form and somebody will contact you because we can walk you through this.


Michael:
      We understand what this looks like. Whether you're starting to prep and plan for hiring or whether you're continuing to want to grow a healthier organization, this is one of those things that we do and we would love to be able to help you. So when we come back as we work with our clients or you go in and read this book, you're going to want to think about how do you identify all three of these core values: humble, hungry and smart. And then, how do you learn to ask questions in interviews and make observations of your staff so that you can find out, are they, only have one of these? Are they missing two? Or, do they have two of these characteristics and do they fall into the three labels of accidental mess maker, lovable slacker or skillful politician? And really looking for what that is and then starting to identify.


Michael:
      If you're asking questions and interviews, there's good questions you can ask, there are open-ended questions you can ask that will start to allude to some of these things. Also, when you do reference calls, you can ask about those kind of things also. But if you have staff, these are a big deal. And you want to be able to make sure that if you don't feel like somebody's an ideal team player, this is a grit on going, why not? Why aren't they?


Kathryn:
      What's missing and is there something we can actually shore up in a person and train them up in. Or is it just, we need to figure out a different place or a different strategy or find a different team member.


Michael:
      Now, here's the warning and Lencioni is really good at saying this in his book. He calls it out. Two things. One, you want to accurately identify people. Accurately identifying people and finding out, do they fit into these categories is important. But what you don't want to do is wrongly label people. You need to be very careful. That goes with publicly or privately. You want to be careful that you're not just going, just because somebody is stronger in one of those three things. So maybe they're more hungry than all the other things. But humble and smart actually exist in that combination. You don't go, well, they're a bulldozer. Just because they're stronger in that area.


Michael:
      What you want to try and do is make sure that you're holding a balance. There it is says, do you have all three? And you're always going to lean ... Person's always going to lean more on one side or the other. Usually. They very rarely smack dab in the middle equal and they don't always live 100% of their time in that center category. Sometimes they fall out. We all do. We all make mistakes or we all lean towards our weaknesses. The question is, are they in there most of the time. So you want to be really careful that you don't really slander somebody, in a sense.


Kathryn:
      One of the things, this was highlighted for me recently, it is not always easy to tell the difference between arrogance and confidence properly placed. Especially when you're interviewing and you're just trying to get to know somebody. So they're trying to position themselves as best they can, so they highlight all of their strengths. How do you identify what is actual just this is what I'm good at, confidence properly placed, highlighting my best and what is arrogance. Those are hard things. You can't just be the words. There's other clues and body language and positioning and all sorts of different things. But that's a tough one.


Michael:
      Yeah. It really is a tough one.


Kathryn:
      Especially in an interview process.


Michael:
      If you want to continue to have a Passion & Provision company, that's going to mean you're going to have a healthy organization, a healthy company. And if you're going to do that, you have to be smart about how you're using tools like this. Smart doesn't mean you're not smart or dumb, it's a degree of how smart you are. How skilled are you with this? And making these kind of observations and assessments and then understanding what to do to adjust and to help, whether you help coach and train somebody in so that they're growing in an area or you coach them out of your organization. You have to be smart about it and those are skills that you as a leader can acquire, you can learn and there's knowledge to be acquired and that's why we're recommending this book.


Michael:
      But then there is a process of acquiring the actual skill and you're adjusting and evaluating your skill level. Because you we can all ... We all know as leaders, we can put a lot of stuff in our head and facts, everything else. That doesn't mean we're skilled at using that information.


Kathryn:
      Well, one of the things that I think is super healthy to do, so this is just a practical tip, is now that you've heard these three: humble, hungry smart, think back over time. Think back over employees that you've had. Think back over folks that have been brilliant to work with and folks that haven't and see if you can begin to identify maybe part of what was missing. Because even knowing and then being able to identify retroactively can help educate you on what you're looking for moving forward. So all of us have, I mean, most of us have had at least one or two situations where we hired somebody and it just wasn't the right fit. With this tool in mind, I can go back and I can go, part of what was wrong was this. And that helps me then begin to identify as I'm talking with new potential people how to avoid getting put in that situation again.


Michael:
      I think overall those are great ideas, they're very helpful, there's some practical stuff. Lencioni's book, The Ideal Team Player is a phenomenal book for understanding this and is way more detailed. If you want to learn more, we would highly recommend going there, picking up his book, reading that. If you need further help in walking that out, Half a Bubble Out is an opportunity for you. We do that type of consulting and can walk with you on that and can walk with you on identifying what that looks like as you continue to move your organization towards more Passion & Provision so that you and everyone in your company thrive. This is powerful stuff. Hopefully, that was helpful today. It's a little on the shorter side today, little on the shorter side.


Kathryn:
      A collective cheer went out.


Michael:
      We love Lencioni. One last push for this book, this is a very valuable book. Really most books you can pick up and the first couple of chapters and then the appendix on this one. You can get a lot out of this book and it's worth your time, and then if you really want more examples, the book goes into more detail. And that's super valuable, super cool. You just have to understand because this can't save you so many problems. It codifies it so well on hiring people. What we talk about is, hire and fire to your values. Your core values in your company are important.


Michael:
      These are three core values that are about management in your employees and who you like. Hire and fire to these. We recommended completely. It's not custom for just a company, these ... Lencioni figured out that while they thought that they were unique to them, they realized they were universal to human beings. That type of simplistic knowledge and understanding is one that helps us all create companies and organizations that our employees thrive in and we have less challenges with them because we know they're all going to work together. We're pretty excited about it. I think it's great.


Michael:
      So this is another podcast for HaBO Village. We thank you very much for coming today. Please if you haven't up until this point hit subscribe in iTunes, tell a friend about us and if you have any questions please go to our website, halfabubbleout.com and look on the HaBO Village Podcast link and leave on any kind of questions you want. Please. Comment-


Kathryn:
      Notes, comments, questions.


Michael:
      It'd be great. Thank you very much. Have a great day.


Kathryn:
      Thanks.


Michael:
      Bye-bye.


Kathryn:
      Bye.