Have you thought about what that means and how to achieve it? The focus today for many is becoming physically healthier. People take on gym memberships and hire trainers and buy organic food in order to exercise better and eat healthier.
The same needs to happen in our companies. We need to establish a structure that provides a framework in which teams and individuals can effectively accomplish goals. A healthy organization is focused on growing in every area. Just like going to the gym for a physical workout, we need to be growing our organizational health as we work together to accomplish our objectives.
So how do we do that? Organizational health is based on four key pillars that help a business succeed:
Planning. We all know the statement that goes like this: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” And when it comes to organizational health, that is very true. Not only do you need a business plan that defines your efforts for the next twelve months but also a strategic long term plan that helps you communicate a clear vision of where the company is headed and how you plan to get there. This is not a write it, share it once, and then file it in the drawer process. The business plan needs to be the operating manual for how the company will function. It should include a budget that manages the decision making discussions that need to occur on a regular rhythm. Planning is core to keeping a business on track.
Leadership. Where there is no leadership, companies flail and fall apart. It is one thing to have a plan, but with that comes the necessity to communicate it clearly and help each person on the team know where they fit. The key is to help the team have personal ownership for the things that are part of their responsibility. Employees often wonder where they fit into the overall picture. Leaders have to help them understand where they fit and the importance of the role they fulfill. It is based on sharing through open and honest dialogue so there are not those who know and those who don’t. It means meetings, which many avoid, but which are essential in order to lead well. We have to make time to connect if we truly want to lead well.
Accountability. This is the foundation to getting things done. Accountability must be a culture, not an activity. As Edison said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” Every person in the organization must have clarity of the expectations of their role and then meaningful feedback on their performance. It’s more than knowing where they fit in the big picture. We also have to get down to the specifics of what their responsibilities are, and what they’re expected to deliver. Then there must be a clear way to measure their work. That has to be accompanied with a regular method of providing feedback. As the workforce is changing, so must our communication of performance. Millennials want more regular feedback in most instances than their “baby-boomer” counterparts. We have to hold people accountable to their defined roles and communicate how they are doing clearly, offering encouragement more often than correction.
Relationships. At the end of the day, business and life are all about relationships. We have to work to create a culture of trust where people feel free to ask questions and seek understanding. We must cultivate an environment where people don’t fear asking for help, or getting clarification on what they need to do. We want to have everyone rowing together in the same direction, side by side, knowing that there is freedom to raise their hand and ask for assistance. It isn’t about making people happy, but creating a workplace where people can communicate openly and honestly knowing that the people around them are in the same boat headed for the same destination.
Organizational health doesn’t happen by accident. It happens when we put intentional focus on creating a healthy culture and work environment that enables the team to succeed!