By Cindy Barber
Have you ever looked at two companies who do the same (or very similar) things and wonder why one is successful and one isn’t? They both have solid products or services, great marketing, and there is a need for what they are selling but one company seems to always perform better. More than likely there is an organizational health issue involved. Basically, the company is sick. Like a person, an organization is healthy when it is free to function at its highest potential and is sustainable. The sicker they are, the less productive and profitable. Here are some key attributes of a healthy organization:
According to Patrick Lencioni in his book The Advantage, “Addressing organizational health provides a competitive advantage to companies because ultimately health becomes the multiplier of intelligence. The healthier an organization is, the more of its intelligence it is able to tap into and actually use. Most organizations only exploit a fraction of the knowledge, experience and intellectual capital available to them. The healthy ones tap into all of it. Addressing health helps companies to make smarter decisions, faster, without politics and confusion.”
When a person or a family is unhealthy, things get in the way of them operating as successfully as they could. In companies, we say they have an organizational drag – something(s) that pull in a counteractive direction to where the company is trying to move. It is common for the following to create an organizational drag:
It can be challenging to help executives understand that the cost of ignoring organizational health can be devastating. Many of the measures of the health of an organization such as trust, engagement, accountability, and culture are “soft skills”, mistakenly treated too often as unimportant skills. If soft skills are synonymous with people skills and people are driving your organization it is imperative that those skills be highly developed. Regardless of the market space, an organization will never be better than its people. And, unlike the economy, marketplace, competitor behavior, etc., it is the one critical area of business companies have control over.
Those that understand and make organizational health an integral part of their overall business strategy are able to maximize the potential of their company. It is encouraging to see more and more leaders moving in that direction. It is the vision of The Dash Group that one day organizational health will be given the priority that marketing, sales, R&D and other business objectives receive. It is the one investment you can count on to yield a high rate of return both now and for years to come.
 Lencioni, The Advantage, 3/13/12, Wiley
 McKenzie Quarterly, April 2014
What Hurricane Prep Teaches Us by Catherine Hickem
Typically people will get into the hurricane prep mode when they a. believe it is really going to hit them and b. when they think it will be a bad storm. This is pretty indicative of human nature in that we want to minimize dire warnings. We also don’t want to spend money unnecessarily if it bypasses us.
Yet, looking at the storms from the rear view perspective, companies can learn a few strategic lessons from these stressful events. First, if organizations will do their due diligence when hiring, they will greatly improve their chances of hiring the right people. Finding the right person to sit on the right seat of the bus will take time, money, and intentional energy. Resumes can be padded, interviews can be a ruse, and references can be bought. Great hires require spending time getting prepared to examine the potential candidates through a variety of filters. Is he the right fit for the culture? How is her judgment and decision-making ability under stress? Is he comfortable in his skin? Can he tell you a time he failed and what he learned from it? These are just a few of the insights needed to know if you are on the right track.
Secondly, another way to prepare is to know who you are looking for in the role. Do you want a similar leader to the one who just left or do you need a totally different type to energize the division? What does the team need to achieve a new level of excellence? What would the peers say is needed in the role? While no one group can dominate the hiring process, knowing these needs provide clarity and improves the likelihood for a good fit.
Lastly, prepping for a storm is easier if you know what the major characteristics are in the storm. Is flooding a concern or is the issue more connected to wind and tornados? In hiring, information such as the competencies for the position are as important as the job description itself. What skills are needed in this role at this time in this stage of the company’s life cycle? Some leaders are better at launching new initiatives while others are better at steadying the team. Simply knowing this aspect of the company’s need will help define the focus.
The more the hiring team can have a prepper mindset, the better the likelihood the right person will be hired and a disaster prevented. Thanks Harvey and Irma. You were good for something!