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

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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 ...
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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.


Product Details

Hardcover: 260 pages


    Editorial Reviews

    From Publishers Weekly

    The business meeting—a necessary evil or a vital and invigorating component of running an organization? According to management consultant Lencioni (The Five Temptations of a CEO), meetings should fit the latter description, but more often than not, he says, they don't. In this lackluster audio fable, Lencioni offers practical advice on how to revitalize your business by energizing your business meetings, but his pallid, passive prose would challenge the most skilled narrator, and Arthur is no exception. The voice Arthur lends Will, the young hero of this tale, resembles that of Sesame Street's Ernie on downers, and the various inflections he gives business owner Casey McDaniel and his management team don't make up for the characters' lack of character. Nevertheless, Lencioni's message comes across loud and clear—meetings should be interactive, not passive, and they should be structured (i.e., issues of immediate importance should be discussed in "weekly tactical" meetings, and issues that will fundamentally affect the business should be addressed in "monthly strategic" meetings). Although managers will find this advice worthwhile, they would gather just as much if they skipped the sluggish fable and listened to the last few tracks. 
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


    “…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)


    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    59 of 64 people found the following review helpfulBy Manny Hernandez HALL OF FAME on May 9, 2004
    Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
    His previous book, "Five Disfunctions..." is by far the best work Lencioni has written to date, so "Death By Meeting" had quite a challenge to match when it came out. Although it falls a little short, still it accomplishes a task that cannot be diminished: it shows executives (and managers at large, I'd argue) how to make meetings more effective for once, and (are you ready for this?) he advocates for more, not less, meetings, in order to enhance the performance of companies and positively impact the lives of those who work in them.
    The book, like his previous ones, is cleverly structured in two large parts: The Fable and The Model. The first part lays out a sort of novel, where the characters could pretty much be you and me, taking part in management meetings in our own companies, and tells the story of how implementing his methodology (brought about by a "consultant in disguise", impersonated by the CEO's personal assistant) helped put the company's steering team out of its meeting "misery", by turning their meetings into a satisfactory and productive experience that they started looking forward to from then on.
    The second part summarizes the methodology presented in The Fable, in a more general context, by introducing the four types of meeting he advocates:
    -Daily Check-In
    -Weekly Tactical
    -Monthly Strategic (or Ad Hoc Strategic)
    -Quarterly Off-site Review
    Even if you think you are effective at managing your meetings, I highly recommend that you give "Death By Meeting" a read. It won't take more than 2 hours of your time, and it will provide you and your team with benefits to reap for life. Disregard at your own managerial risk!
    19 of 22 people found the following review helpfulBy david sparrow on May 9, 2004
    Format: Hardcover
    If you dwell in the all too common world of unproductive meetings -- which I'd hazard to guess is at least a 50/50 chance -- this book is well worth a look. Consistent with his "business fable" style, Lencioni makes "Death by Meeting" a quick read with some easy to grasp but powerful principles as the payoff.
    How many time's have you heard the term, "I can't get anything done because I'm always in meetings." Sounds logical right? Not so, says Lencioni. He precedes to show us through his fable that what's needed is a paradigm shift on how we think about meetings. Meetings aren't problems, they are opporturnities. Meetings don't have to be a death walk, they can inspire, challenge, and bring problems out in the open to be wrestled to the ground and resolved.
    In my view, the power of Lencioni's principles are in their simplicity. How many times have you waded through a business book and found yourself inspired only to forget half the of 20 "principles" and so called recipes for success. Lencioni's principles are simple enough that they are both easily grasped and memorable.
    The challenge for readers of "Death by Meeting" teachings is that Lencioni provides little beyond the basic framework. He gives few suggestions for implementation, and does not warn of pitfalls or discuss the implications of company culture and barriers that might arise. His message is in affect, here's the framework -- now get to it.
    That's a tough pill to swallow for readers who find very few similarities between the company and the leaders depicted in the story and their own situation. But I'd argue that this isn't a valid excuse to let the book gather dust on the shelf. Those who go forward boldly may soon find that they'll create their own fable with a happy ending.


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