Is Your Business Healthy?
Much is being said and written about organizational health and culture. Culture has been described as what happens when the CEO, the partners, or the leaders leave the room; that’s when culture takes over. It’s the way you do business and the way people think and act when the employee manual is silent. A healthy culture provides the building blocks for a sustainable and successful firm. With an unhealthy culture, employees see work as a grind – something to be endured.
Patrick Lencioni’s book, “The Advantage – Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business”, says there are 4 disciplines required for a firm to be healthy:
- Build a cohesive leadership team – As Lencioni says, “It’s kind of like a family. If the parents’ relationship is dysfunctional, the family will be too.” Ask the questions:
- Does my leadership team build trust?
- Does my leadership team manage conflict? Do we fight fair?
- Do we focus on overall team/organization results?
- Create clarity – this is the process that ensures there is little confusion, politics and in-fighting. Everyone needs to know:
- why do we exist?
- how do we behave?
- what do we do and how will we succeed?
- what’s important, right now?
- Overcommunicate clarity – once you have a cohesive leadership team and have set a course, it needs to be communicated to staff again and again and again. The key message needs to come from different sources, and constantly.
- Reinforce clarity – a leader can’t be around all the time to manage your culture, so put systems in place that help reinforce the message. Some of these are:
- Recruiting and hiring – hire for fit, and train for skills. Does your new hire fit your culture?
- Performance management/compensation/recognition – build them around the values of your firm.
- Firing – as Lencioni puts it, “Keeping a relatively strong performer who is not a cultural fit creates a variety of problems. Tolerating behaviour that flies in the face of core values….becomes almost impossible to reverse over time.”