Book Notes: Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding the Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty


Building long-term client loyalty, according to Paul Lencioni, requires companies shed their fears and become more vulnerable, humble and selfless.

By Leslie Finkel

What a great read! Funny and insightful, Getting Naked uses a “fable” to illustrate how best to market management consulting services – however, the model that the author, Paul Lencioni posits is applicable across any business that builds and manages client relationships.

Lencioni owns a management consulting firm and is the New York Times bestselling author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Lencioni’s “fable” talks about shedding the three fears that sabotage client loyalty, which he calls “getting naked.” The principles of “getting naked” include being:

  • Vulnerable
  • Humble
  • Selfless
  • Honest
  • Open

There are three fears that sabotage client loyalty – the fear of losing business, the fear of being embarrassed and the fear of feeling inferior.

The Fear of Losing Business – When you approach the relationship as only a revenue generating endeavor, you are putting your interests ahead of the client’s. Lencioni comments that “Clients want to know that we’re more interested in helping them than we are in maintaining our revenue source.”

The Fear of Being Embarrassed – Don’t worry about not knowing all the answers. When you take your focus off how you look you can be of the greatest help to your client. Admitting when you are wrong builds trust.

The Fear of Feeling Inferior – You can’t serve your client and be the center of attention simultaneously – choose serving. Be willing to put your ego in your back pocket. As Lencioni points out, “There is nothing more attractive and admirable than people who willingly and cheerfully set their egos aside and make the needs of others more important than their own.”

Lencioni elaborates on what behaviors will address these fears and align you and your clients strategically, positioned for success.


Leslie Finkel is the Manager of Wellington Square Bookshop in Exton. Recognized as the Best Indie Bookstore by Philadelphia Magazine in 2016, the bookshop has a literary focus, hosts numerous author events and welcomes customers to relax with coffee and pastry in our vintage reading room.


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