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Organisational Health

Posted by Jan Craft - Friday, December 21, 2012

Dec 21

I have been rereading The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni the best selling author of numerous business books most notably The Five Dysfunctions of Team.

In The Advantage Pat outlines practical, simple and straightforward strategies to create health in organisations. The most powerful aspect of his model is that it is simple, it is straightforward, it does not cost a lot of money, it does not require great intelligence and it is accessible to any organisation. These truths can work against organisations with a culture of valuing complexity. Many well educated executives distrust something that is too simple.

A healthy organisation is about integrity – when management, operations, strategy and culture fit together and operate out of the same goals and values. In order to achieve this they need to be both smart and healthy.

Smart means that they need to know their markets, customers, finance and technology in order to make the best decisions. For most organisations this is where they focus and spend most of their time and money. What frequently is not addressed is the health side of the ledger. This means focusing on minimising politics, reducing confusion by creating clarity and communicating clearly and often. The health aspects of an organisation are often neglected because they are difficult to embrace. It is unfamiliar territory in many ways.

Health does not appear in the curricula of business schools. It involves managing people, where most executives prefer the hard skills of balance sheets and budgets. It is not really measurable or quantifiable though no-one could deny the powerful impact that health has on an organisation. Being healthy is not costly, it is simple and achievable. It does however require discipline, consistency and commitment. The Advantage model is powerful and promises any organisation that embraces it an opportunity to create a real and genuine competitive advantage.