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Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business

ISBN: 978-0-470-89387-6
272 pages
June 2010, Jossey-Bass
Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business (0470893877) cover image


Casey McDaniel had never been so nervous in his life.

In just ten minutes, The Meeting, as it would forever be known, would begin.  Casey had every reason to believe that his performance over the next two hours would determine the fate of his career, his financial future, and the company he had built from scratch.

“How could my life have unraveled so quickly?” he wondered.

In his latest page-turning work of business fiction, best-selling author Patrick Lencioni provides readers with another powerful and thought-provoking book, this one centered around a cure for the most painful yet underestimated problem of modern business: bad meetings.  And what he suggests is both simple and revolutionary.

Casey McDaniel, the founder and CEO of Yip Software, is in the midst of a problem he created, but one he doesn’t know how to solve.  And he doesn’t know where or who to turn to for advice.  His staff can’t help him; they’re as dumbfounded as he is by their tortuous meetings.

Then an unlikely advisor, Will Peterson, enters Casey’s world.  When he proposes an unconventional, even radical, approach to solving the meeting problem, Casey is just desperate enough to listen.

As in his other books, Lencioni provides a framework for his groundbreaking model, and makes it applicable to the real world.  Death by Meeting is nothing short of a blueprint for leaders who want to eliminate waste and frustration among their teams, and create environments of engagement and passion.

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Table of Contents


The Fable.


Part One: Flashback.

Part Two: Plot Point.

Part Three: Protagonist.

Part Four: Action.

Part Five: Resolution.

The Model.

The Paradox of Meetings.

Executive Summary.

Problem #1: Lack of Drama.

Problem #2: Lack of Contextual Structure.

The Biggest Challenge of All: “The Myth of Too Many Meetings”.

A Final Thought on Meetings.

The Weekly Tactical Meeting Guide.


About the Author.

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Author Information

PATRICK LENCIONI is founder and 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 in organizations ranging from Fortune 500s and high-tech start-ups to universities and nonprofits. He is the author of numerous nationally recognized books, including the New York Times best-seller The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

To learn more about Patrick Lencioni and his other products and services—including his newsletter and free resources—please visit www.tablegroup.com.

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“…a work of fiction with important messages for management” (Leadership & Organisational Development Journal)

“The author is something of a master of the modern fable….” (Professional Manager, Vol.13, No.6, November 2004)

“…pitches his theory neatly at busy readers by opening with an executive summary.” (Supply Management, 8 July 2004)

"Highly recommended: you could even take it to your next meeting." (On Target, September 2007)

"Finally, a real solution to an age old problem. Meetings may never be the same."
—Kris Hagerman, executive vice president, Strategic Operations, VERITAS Software Corporation

"Death By Meeting is about much more than meetings; it's about an entire management philosophy. I read a lot of books on management, and Lencioni's are among the very best. They form the basis for our approach at Silicon Valley Bank."
—Ken Wilcox, CEO, Silicon Valley Bank

"Lencioni has done it again! Insightful. Practical. Ready-to-implement solutions. If you lead people, you can’t afford to miss this book. It’s an absolute must-read."
—Jim Mellado, president, Willow Creek Association

"We've put Pat's theories into practice and they work.  Our meetings are more productive, our communication is clearer, and the team’s commitment to decisions is much greater."
—Curt Nonomaque, president and CEO, VHA Inc.

"Meetings are such a cr itical element of effective organizational communication.  Lencioni has provided a concise, entertaining, and inventive guide to improving meeting structure, participation, and results.  Thumbs up for this insightful tale."
—Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of operations, Major League Baseball

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