Why Organizational Health Trumps All

By Jeri Denniston, Chief Marketing Officer, Denner Group International

Takeaways: Organizational health is more important than any strategic change effort an organization develops. Having clarity about the organization’s direction, ensuring the leadership all agree, and communicating it well are keys to organizational success.

The Advantage by Patrick LencioniAccording to Patrick Lencioni in his book The Advantage – Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, “the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre or unsuccessful ones has little, if anything, to do with what they know or how smart they are; it has everything to do with how healthy they are.” Where does your organization fit with this statement?

Lencioni’s book is about creating and communicating CLARITY throughout the organization. Divided into four disciplines, the book exquisitely describes clarity from the viewpoints of Leadership, Strategic Thinking, Planning, and Taking Action (Lead, Think, Plan, Act). These are, by the way, the four pillars of the Association for Strategic Planning.

> Discipline One: Build a Cohesive Leadership Team
> Discipline Two: Create Clarity
> Discipline Three: Overcommunicate Clarity
> Discipline Four: Reinforce Clarity

Clarity of Purpose is Critical to Organizational Health

Organizational health is founded on the four disciplines mentioned above.

First and foremost, the leadership team must be clear about the organization’s direction and major initiatives and they must all act as one to support those initiatives, even if they don’t agree with them. They must communicate those to their staff in a way that the staff understands and can communicate to their colleagues as well.

Second, the leadership team must be intellectually aligned and committed to the same answers to six simple but critical questions:
•    Why do we exist?
•    How do we behave?
•    What do we do?
•    How will we succeed?
•    What is most important right now?
•    Who must do what?

Third, it isn’t enough to just communicate these answers once or post them on the walls or in interoffice communication. The leadership must continuously remind their staff about these 6 critical areas and how their efforts support these.

Fourth, to remain healthy organizations must put the systems and structures in place to support the 6 critical questions and remind every employee what is really most important.

The San Diego Chapter of the Association for Strategic Planning will be hosting a two-part webinar series in November to review and discuss these four disciplines. Part One covers the first two disciplines; Part Two covers the second two disciplines. These are led by four strategic management experts who work with clients in these four areas. Click the button below to get on the list to be informed about the dates and register for these events.

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