- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (13 January 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0787976393
- ISBN-13: 978-8126528295
- Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 386 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding the Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty Hardcover – 13 Jan 2010
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From the Inside Flap
I'm not going to lie; Michael Casey was one of my least favorite people in the world. Even the mention of his name could put me in a moderately bad mood.
And so, if you had told me a year earlier that I would spend four solid months of my professional life learning about him and his annoying little consulting firm, I would have told you it was time for me to change careers.
But that's exactly what happened, and I've lived to tell about it.
After focusing on topics ranging from teamwork and leadership to employee engagement and meetings, acclaimed management expert, consultant, speaker, and New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni has finally turned his attention toward his own craftconsulting and client service. Tapping into the simple but powerful model that his firm, The Table Group, has been built on for more than a dozen years, Lencioni presents what may be his most engaging, humorous book yet.
Getting Naked tells the remarkable story of a management consultant who is trying desperately to merge two firms with very different approaches to serving clients. One relies on vulnerability and complete transparency; the other focuses on proving its competence and protecting its reputation for intellectual prowess. In the process of managing the merger, the consultant is forced to learn life-changing lessons that prove to be as relevant as they are painful.
As he does in his other books, Lencioni provides readers with concepts that are accessible and compelling. Here, he explains the three fears that provoke service providerswhether they are internal consultants, sales people, financial advisors, or anyone else serving long-term clientsto unknowingly sabotage their ability to build trust and loyalty. And, as always, Lencioni provides a practical approach for overcoming those fears.
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Without spoiling any of the story-line, here's the main moral of the narrative: cut the BS!
I feel like everyone living with me here in Los Angeles should read this! So many people here walk around with the "do you know who I think I am" attitude. This book reminded me that when it comes to business, people want to work with people who can get the job done. Period. Strip away the technology, the pomp and circumstance of appearing to be a "big fish in a small pond" and just show up "naked." If you really are worth your weight in salt, you'll get the job or the client because you can do the job better than anyone else.
Once I got past the information being presented as a fable, I have to say that content-wise, I already belonged to the choir that Lencioni is preaching to, I just didn't know it. And his advice can help me push it a little more. So I can highly recommend the book. Leave your numbers, metrics and measurements aside for a bit and read this to help put them in some context.
I have worked with big engineering and science clients for several years now, so I'm pretty used to feeling dumb. With a clientele like I've worked with, trying to come across as a know-it-all would be impossible and pathetic. I would be seen through in an instant. So I've long since conquered any fear of feeling inferior or being embarrassed. In these complex, collaborative environments it is critical to get over yourself and focus on the work.
What I I've added to my thinking after this read is the attitude of "always be consulting" (to crib a line from Glengarry Glen Ross), or what Lencioni refers to as giving away the business. Don't waste time talking about what you can do, just start doing it. I now see myself, as a consultant, as part of my employer's "offense". At the point I'm called in to a project, we have the ball and our job is to advance it as soon and as far as we can. As long as we can keep doing that, there's no need for sales, which is the "defense" of the business. Sales' job is to get the ball back over to us when we don't have it.
When he talks about consultants "doing the dirty work", "taking a bullet" and "making everything about the client" it is this view of my role as an "offensive" player in my business that ties it together for me. These things are done with a smile because they advance the ball, aka the client's interests.
Of course, the title of the book is odd and doesn't say very much. "Naked" in the title relates to open, honest and transparency. "Getting Naked" refers to running your company in such a way that you are totally open, honest and transparent with your clients. This honest (or vulnerability) can cause a level of trust that can lead to a very high customer loyalty.
As with Lencioni's other books, the book is structured around one story and then a clarification of the model that was used in the story. The story is about a manager called Jack who works in a management consultant firm who bought a smaller yet very successful firm. Jack goes in to the smaller firm to learn how they work so that he can integrate that firm back in the larger "mother" firm. However, as he figures out how the other firm works, he discovers that the cultural differences between the traditional larger firm and the "naked consulting" smaller firm are perhaps impossible to overcome. He ends up with an personal identity crisis as he tries to understand the difference in operating principles. Learning the new concepts and coping with the cultural differences leads him into an interesting position with... a surprising end (which I'll leave as a surprise).
The second part explains the model behind naked consulting which is based on overcoming the three fears: 1) the fear of losing business, 2) the fear of being embarrassed, and 3) the fear of feeling inferior. Each of these fears can be overcome by following the principles of "naked consulting" such as: "Telling the kind truth" or "entering danger." Each of these principles comes with some examples.
As mentioned, the book actually surprised me. It made concrete a few of consulting and coaching which I feel can be very powerful yet incredibly difficult. It also stressed the important of honesty in business rather than just profits and selling, which I also believe in strongly. All of this caused me to enjoy the book more than I actually expected. For this, I wanted to definitively give the book a 5 star review, yet, in the end, I chose only 4. Why? Because thinking it over, I felt the book is also lacking on two fronts. First, it doesn't really deeply clarify the system behavior and assumptions behind these principles, it doesn't go deep enough into the question of "why?". Second, these principles are great, but are incredibly hard to follow. The book, unfortunately, doesn't help very much with how you can adopt these principles but leaves that to the reader. For these reasons, I decided to stay with a 4 (but close to 5) star review. Recommended, especially for anyone who's work it is to offer a service to others.