Getting Naked: A Business Fable

Written by: Patrick Lencioni
Presented by: Susan R. Schilke


  • Another leadership story from Pat Lencioni
  • Follows Jack Bauer (a different one), a management consultant, trying to learn about his former #1 competitor – now a newly acquired part of his company
  • Discovers why they are so effective, and develops a model for their approach
  • Applications: primarily for service and consulting firms, but good thoughts for internal service and TeamStrength participation

The Model

  • All about a service provider allowing themselves to be vulnerable to clients
  • Encourages embracing humility, selflessness and transparency
  • Builds longer, deeper relationships with the right clients – at a higher margin
  • About giving up three fears that prevent trust-building and loyalty

Fear #1: Losing the business

  • Nobody wants to lose clients or opportunities
  • A related fear is being undercompensated or having ideas used without payment
  • Naked Service Providers:
    • Consult, don’t sell – demonstrate value right away
    • Give away the business – give advice & service without payment
    • Tell the kind truth – even if they don’t want to hear it – presented with empathy & respect
    • Enter the danger- confront the tough situations

Fear #2: Being embarrassed

  • No one likes making mistakes in public
  • Clients trust more if no ideas are withheld
  • Naked Service Providers:
    • Ask dumb questions – usually not the only person curious, just only one who will ask
    • Make dumb suggestions – have to take that risk to get the good ones out there
    • Celebrate your mistakes – don’t downplay errors, just take responsibility and move on

Fear #3: Feeling inferior

  • People want to preserve their sense of importance with a client
  • Clients like providers who set egos aside
  • Naked Service Providers:
    • Take a bullet for the client – accept responsibility to take the burden off the client
    • Make everything about the client – downplay your accomplishments
    • Honor the client’s work – appreciate the importance of the client’s business and get passionate about their success