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The Motive summary

Patrick M. Lencioni

Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities

4.3 (41 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

The Motive by Patrick Lencioni is a business book that delves into the true motivations behind why leaders choose to lead. It challenges conventional wisdom and offers valuable insights to help leaders find their true purpose.

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    The Motive
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    The wrong motive for leading

    Picture this: a hotshot young football star entering the elite realm of the National Football League. Basking in his new-found fame, he’s more keen on the glamor than the grind. He’s the athlete who slacks off during off-season training and doesn’t give his all in the game. Because he’s in it for the rewards, he’s less committed, less diligent, and eventually, less successful.

    Now, switch gears and imagine a father, super excited about his new title – Dad. But he believes fatherhood is just another trophy to show off. Sure, he might roll the dice in an occasional board game or go to a school recital if it’s convenient. But wake up for a midnight feeding or help with algebra homework? Not his scene.

    This same playbook is what’s unfolding in the boardrooms of major corporations worldwide. You’d think the suits and ties would know better, but no. The corporate arena is filled with CEOs who are driven by one of the two core motives that dictate how someone approaches leadership – and that motive is the seductive siren call of rewards. It’s the thrill of power, the glitz of money, the intoxicating allure of status, and the simple pleasure of having fun. This reward-centric outlook paints leadership as a luxurious prize, something to be indulged in, rather than an honorable duty to uplift and serve those around them. 

    When leaders are blinded by their own gains, they inadvertently sideline the gritty, less-glamorous tasks that are the backbone of a thriving organization. Instead, they treat their roles like a trip to an amusement park – always chasing the thrill rides while avoiding the necessary maintenance tasks. They seem to forget that with great power – and a swanky office – comes great responsibility.

    The worst part is that these reward-hungry leaders often don’t even realize they’re dropping the ball. They’re too busy passing off their duties to others, or worse, ignoring issues only they have the expertise to address. Some even strut around, flaunting their misguided priorities like it’s the latest fashion trend. “Look at me, I’m a CEO, and I just want the fun parts!”

    And the result? Their teams are left in the lurch, scrambling without direction. Imagine working hard, looking up for guidance, and finding … well, crickets. It’s like having a ship captain who’s too busy sunbathing to steer. Employees scratch their heads, wondering if their situation is for real – and sadly, for many, it is.

    Here’s the crazy part: this doesn’t apply to just a handful of misguided folks. A shocking number of otherwise brilliant CEOs plays this risky game. They see their position as a golden ticket to personal pleasures: wealth, prestige, excitement, you name it. By chasing only rewards and dodging the gritty stuff, they weaken their grip on true leadership.

    Wondering if you have the wrong motive for leading? Let’s take a look at the tell-tale signs.   

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    What is The Motive about?

    The Motive (2020) dives into the importance of leaders having a strong and clear drive for their work. Centered around two fundamental motives, it guides leaders to recognize their genuine intentions and adopt responsibility-driven leadership for the good of their organizations.

    The Motive Review

    The Motive (2020) by Patrick M. Lencioni is an insightful exploration of what drives people to lead and work in organizations. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its thought-provoking analysis of leadership motivations, the book challenges conventional notions and prompts self-reflection.
    • Through compelling stories and examples, Lencioni provides practical insights on how to cultivate purpose-driven and effective leadership.
    • The book's engaging narrative style keeps readers captivated, making it an enjoyable and enlightening read.

    Who should read The Motive?

    • Aspiring leaders wanting to know the essence of genuine leadership.
    • Managers seeking self-improvement
    • Advocates for selfless, service-oriented leadership.

    About the Author

    Patrick M. Lencioni is the founder and CEO of consulting firm The Table Group. On top of his leadership speaking engagements, he also writes business management books. His previous titles include The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, The Advantage, and The Ideal Team Player.

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    The Motive FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Motive?

    The main message of The Motive is discovering the true motive behind our leadership roles.

    How long does it take to read The Motive?

    The reading time for The Motive varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Motive a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Motive is worth reading as it explores the motivations behind our leadership and provides valuable insights for personal and professional growth.

    Who is the author of The Motive?

    The author of The Motive is Patrick M. Lencioni.

    What to read after The Motive?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Motive, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni
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