The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive came to the top of my book queue this week while I was out of the office. It’s been a while since I’ve popped up some vacation reading on this blog. I think the last couple books were Drive by Daniel Pink and So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. As I explain in my About Me page, my goal each year is to read 52 books. As I’ve been working through my book stack this past week, I enjoyed The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive.
There are a set of business books that attempt to get their message across as a business fable. If you haven’t read one of these books before, it tells a story that seems almost like a case study. But it’s not an actual case study. You get a full view of the story from a variety of angles. In many cases, this is a very effective way to get your message across.
The Four Disciplines
The core message of this book is that there are four disciplines of a healthy organization. Focusing on the role of the CEO or business owner, it is their responsibility to make these prevalent throughout their organization. Specifically, the four disciplines are
- Build and Maintain a Cohesive Leadership Team
- Create Organizational Clarity
- Over-Communicate Organizational Clarity
- Reinforce Organizational Clarity Through Human Systems
These seem like things that most companies believe they already have in place. If you asked most business owners, they would say they have a cohesive leadership team. When it comes to organizational clarity, they would also probably overestimate how clear things really are.
We all like to think that these are present in our organizations. But this book forces you to take a deeper look at your business. Do you really have the organizational clarity that your company needs? How do you communicate that? Is it being reinforced throughout your business?
It’s not a long book – you can probably digest it all in a sitting. But the questions it raises for business owners and the motivation you can find in its pages make The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive worth a read.