In my recent blog post, about the high price of silence on a team, I wrote about one critical symptom of an “unhealthy” organization; namely, the one we refer to as “the elephant in the room”.
In contrast, a healthy organization is unburdened by the time, energy, and resources that bog down an elephant-ridden organization.
Patrick Lencioni, management consultant and author of nine business books, including his latest, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, says:
“I’ve become absolutely convinced that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre or unsuccessful ones, has little, if anything, to do with what they know or how smart they are; it has everything to do with how healthy they are.”
So, what makes an organization “healthy?”
Healthy organizations are characterized by:
- a cohesive, aligned executive team at the top of the organization
- crystal clear direction and priorities
- minimal politics and confusion
- high morale
- high productivity
- high employee engagement
- low turnover
Lencioni, quoted above, goes on to say:
“An organization that is healthy will inevitably get smarter over time. That’s because people in a healthy organization, beginning with the leaders, learn from one another, identify critical issues, and recover quickly from mistakes. Without politics and confusion getting in their way, they cycle through problems and rally around solutions much faster than dysfunctional and political rivals do. Moreover, they create environments where employees do the same.
…The healthier an organization is, the more of its intelligence it is able to tap into and use. Most organizations exploit only a fraction of the knowledge, experience, and intellectual capital that is available to them. But the healthy ones tap into almost all of it.”
Ready to change your diet? Fostering greater organizational health happens similarly to fostering greater personal health, one bite at a time. My next several blog posts will break down the process into bite-sized pieces. In the meantime, consider the following questions:
- Do the senior leaders in my organization represent themselves as a cohesive team?
- Do we have a clear and strong culture that connects and inspires employees?
- If I were to ask people throughout my organization, “What is our top business priority today?” – how many different answers would I hear?