Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty
by Pat Lencioni, Jossey-Bass, 220 pages, $24.95, Hardcover, February 2010, ISBN 9780787976392
For over ten years, Pat Lencioni has helped define the genre of the business fable. He is most famous for The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
, which I thought so highly of that I included it in our collection of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
. When Lencioni's newest book came across my desk I was curious about the title, but also cautious: the title is eye-catching and memorable, but how was Lencioni going to pull this one off?
I needn't have worried. What makes Lencioni's fables so compelling is his skill at creating a real world populated by characters you believe in. Then into that world, Lencioni presents a common problem that you can relate to and a series of problem-solving decisions that you can then apply to your own experience. Time and again, Lencioni succeeds at teaching through storytelling and Getting Naked
is no different.
is about vulnerability and transparency. Nakedness in this case is a counterintuitive approach to presenting yourself to a client or customer. Instead of going into a sales call loaded for bear with a PowerPoint presentation and all sorts of hype about who you are, you should go into the meeting naked, asking questions, being open, and nearly giving your expertise away. Every meeting should be about the client, not about you.
Lencioni's story is about a big consulting firm that buys a little, but very successful, boutique consulting company. The executive responsible for the incorporation of the merger discovers that the small consulting firm has little or no sales costs, because most of the small firms clients are referrals from existing clients. The reason? Outstanding service derived from shedding the three big fears that drive customers away: fear of losing the client, fear of being embarrassed, and fear of being inferior. The executive then brings all he has learned back to the big consulting firm—and to you.
Besides being an outstanding storyteller, Pat Lencioni speaks a language that works perfectly for training. In fact, Getting Naked
will be read by my staff and will be the basis of a new training program—that's how valuable I think this book is.