Like Lencioni’s other books, this is written as a Fable which makes it a quick, easy, relatable read.  It is a story about a CEO, Brian, who has run his Machine Fitness Company successfully for the past 17 years. The business is doing well, it is profitable, and the employees are happy working there.  

When the Board informs him, they are selling the business to a bigger company, he is willing to get the best price and deal for the business as possible, emphasizing that it is the employees who work there that make it appealing to any potential buyer.  

He and his wife retire to Lake Tahoe where they begin to enjoy and settle into retirement.  One evening when they were coming home from a day of skiing, they decided to stop by an Italian restaurant named Gene and Joe’s for takeout.  Their experience was very underwhelming from the order taker to the person who they paid for their food to the lack of cars in the parking lot.  

After some convincing of the Owner Joe, Brian became co-owner and Manager of the Restaurant. For the first two nights Brian just observed how the business ran, how the employees were doing their jobs, and what it would take to make the employees happy to come to work and the restaurant to thrive.  Brian started thinking about the theory of the three root causes of what will make a job miserable, anonymity – not being known, irrelevance – employees’ matter, and they need to feel their job matters and mismeasurement – if employees cannot measure their success, how do they know they are succeeding?          

For the next six months, Brian gets to know each employee, what interests them, what motivates them, what gets them to work on time every day. He also gets them to know each other. He has them measure their own progress or success and has them look at who’s lives they are impacting, not just their families, fellow workers, or manager, but out there in the world. The end result is the employees are happier, the restaurant is doing much better and making a profit and Brian is moving onto his next challenge… a sporting goods company!

I highly recommend this book to all CEO’s, Managers and Employees to read and utilize the concepts discussed here.  As an employee, I enjoy our company outings and more than that, I enjoy being told, “thank you, what you do makes a real difference in how we service our customers and how I can focus on them.”   

The Truth About Employee Engagement by Patrick Lencioni on Amazon.