Your most important responsibility as an executive is to create an environment of success inside your business. We call this organisational health and it is so valuable that mastering it should neither be delayed nor delegated.
There are four simple but demanding steps to get your organisation healthy. We say they are disciplines because although common sense, they don’t come naturally. To master they require courage, patience and perseverance.
Discipline 1 | Build a Cohesive Leadership Team
Your first step is to get your leaders, starting with the top team, to behave in a functional, cohesive way. If your leaders are behaving in dysfunctional ways that dysfunction will cascade into your organisation and prevent organisational health. At the heart of building the team are five behaviours to master – trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and results. If your team at the top sets the example in these five behaviours you set a new standard for the entire business.
Discipline 2 | Create Organisational Clarity
The second step is to ensure your leaders are aligned on the direction and purpose of your organisation as a whole. There are six simple but deceptively difficult questions, from why the organisation exists to what is most important right now, that you need to answer. It is surprising always how much confusion there is. Executives are often not on the same page and send conflicting messages into the business or only really care about the areas they lead and manage.
Discipline 3 | Over-Communicate Clarity
This step ensures that people one, two or three levels below the top team have complete clarity about what they should do to make the organisation successful. As a leader you are patiently and consistently repeating yourself as to what is true and important. People need time to process and absorb but they also need to see that you really believe in what you are communicating and are going to stay the course.
Discipline 4 | Reinforce Clarity
Finally you must ensure that any process in your organisation that involves people, from hiring and firing to performance management and decision-making, is designed in a way to intentionally support and emphasise the uniqueness of the organisation.
There is one other activity that really matters, and that is meetings. By making a few simple changes to the way meetings happen, your organisation will be successful in sustaining all the gains made in the four disciplines above.
Turning an unhealthy company into a healthy one not only creates a distinctive competitive advantage and improved bottom line, but it also makes a genuine difference in the lives of the people who work in your business and those they serve.
To get started download The Table Group’s Organisational Health Survey from our resource centre and use the statements as a starting point to reflect on the health of your organisation.