Getting Naked | Notes

Patrick Lencioni. Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding the Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty. Jossey-Bass, 2010. (220 pages)



Vulnerability. It is one of the most undervalued and misunderstood of all human qualities. (vii)

Without the willingness to be vulnerable, we will not build deep and lasting relationships in life. That’s because there is no better way to earn a person’s trust than by putting ourselves in a position of unprotected weakness and demonstrating that we believe they will support us. (vii)

Yet society encourages us to avoid vulnerability, to always protect strength, confidence, and poise. Although this is certainly advisable in some situations in life, when it comes to important, ongoing relationships, it stifles our ability to build trust. (vii)


They didn’t come with any answers. But they asked questions. And they had suggestions, but they admitted that some or all of those suggestions might not be right. And some of them weren’t, but some were, and more than anything, it felt like they were more interested in helping us figure out our problems than they were in closing the deal. (137)

Consult, don’t sell. Give away the business. (155)

Tell the kind truth. (157)

Enter the danger. (159)

Ask dumb questions. (163)

Make dumb suggestions. (164)

Celebrate your mistakes. (165)

The fear of being embarrassed or looking stupid is about taking an intellectual risk. It’s about the pride of not wanting to be wrong. The fear of feeling inferior is more about humility as a person, not needing to be the center of attention. Even taking on a role of true subservience to a client. (173)

Take a bullet for the client. Make everything about the client. Honor the client’s work. Do the dirty work. (173)

…genuinely display enthusiasm and respect for what the client does. (175)


…the story in this book is about a management consulting firm, because that is what we are. However, the naked approach is certainly not limited to our field. It applies to anyone who provides ongoing, relationship-based advice, counsel, or expertise to a customer, inside or outside of a company. Or better yet, it applies to anyone whose success is tied to building loyal and sticky relationships with the people they serve. (196)

…humility and selflessness and transparency often entail suffering. (197)


…this fear of losing the business actually hurts our ability to keep and increase business, because it causes us to avoid doing the difficult things that engender greater loyalty and trust with the people we’re trying to serve. (197-198)


…like a fifth-grader, we know that the only thing worse than raising our hand and having the wrong answer is failing to put our hand up at all (and realizing that more often than not, we did indeed have the right answer). (199)


Fear of feeling inferior is not about our intellectual pride, but rather about preserving our sense of importance and social standing relative to a client. (199)

…we forget that the word “service” shares the same root meaning as “servant” and even “subservience.” 200

ALWAYS CONSULT INSTEAD OF SELL. Naked service providers transform every sales situation into an opportunity to demonstrate the value of what they do. (201)

GIVE AWAY THE BUSINESS. It entails always erring on the side of the client when it comes to fees. Because you’re interested in a long-term relationship with a client, it is in your best interest to show them that you are more focused on helping them than you are in maximizing your short-term revenue. (202)


ENTER THE DANGER. …entering the danger has to do with having the courage to fearlessly deal with an issue that everyone else is afraid to address. (204)




TAKE A BULLET FOR THE CLIENT. It is about finding those moments when we can humble ourselves and sacrificially take some of the burden off of a client in a difficult situation, and then–and this is critical–confront them with the kind truth. Without that confrontation, taking a bullet would indeed be enablement. (209)

MAKE EVERYTHING ABOUT THE CLIENT. They do not try to shift attention to themselves and their level of experience or knowledge; rather, they make it clear that their focus is on understanding, honoring, and supporting the business of the client. As a result, naked service providers often downplay their own accomplishments, allowing clients to discover them for themselves. (211)

HONOR THE CLIENT’S WORK. …honor the client by taking an active interest in their business and by appreciating the importance of that business to the client and the client’s customers. (211)



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