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Waterfall, Organizational Health

Health Starts at the Top

In a recent blog post, I wrote: “Ready to change your diet? Fostering greater organizational health happens similarly to fostering greater personal health, one bite at a time.”

Organizational health starts at the top and flows down from there – beginning with the executives and the senior leadership team. The first big bites are:

1. Foster cohesion within the top leadership team

  • A cohesive leadership team at the very top of the organization is essential
  • The members of a cohesive leadership team are familiar with each other’s strengths, limitations, and values.
  • They are authentic and transparent with one another in service of the organization.
  • They trust each other and without hesitation will ask one another for help or admit their mistakes,
  • These qualities foster agility; the ability to adjust, change course, or respond quickly & appropriately; not cling to a faltering course of action out of ego or power needs

2. Clarity around shared purpose & direction that is consistently communicated to all employees

  • In the book, Built to Last, Jim Collins & Jerry Porras talk about the importance of core purpose and guiding values. In their research, they found that enduring, successful companies understand the fundamental reason they were founded and why they exist, and they stay true to that reason. Their research also showed that these companies adhered strictly to a fundamental set of core values that guide their behaviors & decisions over time.
  • To create clarity, leaders must eliminate  ambiguity, confusion, and inconsistencies by consistently communicating a consistent message, consistently. (yes, consistently is repeated intentionally)
  • The most reliable & effective way to get an organization moving in the same direction is for the members of the top leadership team to come out of their meetings with a clear message about what was decided, promptly communicate that message to their direct reports, and have those direct reports do the same for their own direct reports.
  • Some leadership teams I work with even write out the message together, word-for-word, before leaving the meeting room. This ensures that every employee will hear the same message.

Here is a link to my 10-minute narrated slideshow describing the requirements for Organizational Health (I call it Organizational Thrival).

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De Yarrison

De is a certified professional Coach, Teambuilder and Facilitator of positive change. She is an adventurer in the world of relationships, blazing new trails of positive expression, resulting in happier leaders, employees, workplaces (and families).
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