The Leader Learner Podcast

S03E11 The Chess and Checkers Episode

February 28, 2024 Theresa Destrebecq & Vincent Musolino Season 3 Episode 11
The Leader Learner Podcast
S03E11 The Chess and Checkers Episode
Show Notes


  • If you could live anywhere, where would you live and why?

Big Ideas: 

  • when books make leadership seem easy, when it's not
  • 5 elements that every team needs to function well together, written as a pyramid
  • using books as a guide can lead us down the wrong path
  • The 5 Dysfunctions are: Absence of Trust, Fear of Conflict, Lack of Commitment, Avoidance of Accountability, and Inattention to Results
  • Lencioni is anti-consensus
  • Can people have results without trust? (example - the Chicago Bulls of the 1990's)
  • Trusting someone's character and capabilities
  • Peer review of models
  • Books can be seeds of discussion, but not guides for team performance
  • Components of trust, and signs when trust is absent
  • Trust not being valued by a manager - it being seen as too "fluffy"
  • Does the importance of trust depend on the type of team you are within the organization? 
  • If everyone's competing for the CEO's job, how can you trust those you work with?
  • Power in organizations - the individual versus the group
  • How can one be political without being egotistical?
  • Politics is making your power concrete. It's not bad or good in nature. It's a tool.
  • What am I applying my politics for?
  • Playing the game without playing the game. Being aware of the game and playing it for the good of the company.
  • We teach people NOT to play politics at work, and then they get into organizations where people are all playing different games
  • When people suffer when they don't know the rules of the game they are playing
  • Play the game to be a successful contribution to the organization
  • Belief that good people don't politics - it's not the tool, it's what you do with them that matters
  • Can you win the fight being a good, upstanding person?
  • Power is largely due to the collective sum of all the relationships you have within an organization. 
  • Fear driven relationships aren't relationships - they are transactional 
  • Choosing NOT to play the game, can be seen as more ethical


  • The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  • Amy Edmondson and Psychological Safety
  • Edgar Shein and Psychological Safety
  • Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

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