Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable About Destroying the Barriers That Turn Colleagues Into Competitors

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Wiley, Feb 2, 2006 - Business & Economics - 224 pages
In yet another page-turner, New York Times best-selling author and acclaimed management expert Patrick Lencioni addresses the costly and maddening issue of silos, the barriers that create organizational politics. Silos devastate organizations, kill productivity, push good people out the door, and jeopardize the achievement of corporate goals.

As with his other books, Lencioni writes Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars as a fictional—but eerily realistic—story. The story is about Jude Cousins, an eager young management consultant struggling to launch his practice by solving one of the more universal and frustrating problems faced by his clients. Through trial and error, he develops a simple yet ground-breaking approach for helping them transform confusion and infighting into clarity and alignment.

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"One of the big issues we find in almost every organisation is the barriers the silo structure creates to collaboration. This is especially true in financial services and telecommunication companies where the customer experience of the brand is fragmented by the uncoordinated and misaligned approaches of the various business silos. The Evalu8ing system we use helps to identify these misalignments, but this book provides an approach to breaking down these silos." 

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Patrick Lencioni is perhaps best known for his "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" where he describes a way to get to a more cohesive leadership team, but even with that in place the organisation might not be pulling in the same direction. You might have a strategy, a vision fo what the organisation will be in three to five years, but this is too far in the future for it to be immediately applicable to your everyday work.
Lencioni suggests that an organisation also should have more short-term intermediate thematic goals. At any one time an organisation should have a thematic goal, the reaching of which will mark a milestone on the way to achieving the organisation's vision.
The thematic goal is supported by a set of defining objectives that provide the necessary context to understand what is meant by the thematic goal. The thematic goal is all about change management, providing a sense of direction for the entire organisation.
You also have to keep an eye on day-to-day operations. That is why you in addition to the defining objectives will have a set standard operating objectives for the things you always need to keep an eye on.
In staff meetings the team should go through all the objectives and rate how well they are doing on these. This scorecard, as well as the team members top priorities, will form the basis when deciding the agenda of the meeting.
As all of Lencioni's books this is a leadership fable, meaning that he uses a fictional story to convey his theory. Thankfully, it is not one of those cute stories about mice looking for cheese. The story is about a young man, Jude Cousins, trying to start a business as an independent management consultant, making up his theory of organisational politics as he goes along. After reading it, you might be a bit weary of unseasoned management consultants.

About the author (2006)

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 nine nationally recognized books, including the New York Times best-seller The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. You can reach him at The Table Group's web site,

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