What’s the state of your organizational health? That’s a loaded question.
The answers I receive vary, depending on whom I ask and how they perceive their respective value to their employer.
Your organizational health is more than a survey conducted quarterly or annually by (usually) HR to ensure that everyone is pleased with their level of compensation and benefits. Organizational health depends on more than statistical analysis.
Otherwise you are reducing your company’s organizational health assessment to the equivalent of those post-airline or post-hotel “How did we do?” surveys.
Organizational health is the pulse and lifeblood of your company, literally and figuratively.
Small to mid-size businesses and startups have a small critical mass of employees. Surveys won’t yield any type of statistically significant results.
What the state of that company’s organizational health usually looks like is a bunch of folks sitting around a table at lunch. They look each other in the eye and ask: “How to you think things are going… for real?”
Their conversation is precipitated by a nagging sense that things are not quite right. They wonder how their employer continues to keep the doors open, based on what these employees experience each day.
There’s an Elephant in that Break Room. It’s growing rapidly. That first Elephant is Fear. There’s another Elephant lurking in the background. Its name is Uncertainty.
When cash flows freely and you hire and spend, your company has a sense of stability. The smaller your organization, the faster your stability erodes if contracts are postponed or lost.
When the revenue stream is positive, things are “good.” No one – especially the leadership team – questions why. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
Organizational health always maintains a finger on the pulse of the structural underpinning of the company: a nimble yet robust, rock-solid business model. In good times as well as when things get rocky.
In small to midsize companies and startups, organizational health is critically contingent on whether the leadership team (or the lone leader) is crystal clear or uncertain about what the company stands for. These enlightened leaders communicate – not pontificate – how everyone’s actions contribute to the healthy whole of the organization. They lead by example.
If employees feel increasingly left on the outside looking in at the folks making all the decisions, they feel powerless. They are marginalized rather than empowered to make contributions towards organizational health and revenue success.
The state of your organizational health goes beyond whether your sales folks are making their numbers. The root causes of solid and positive organizational health involve more than surveys and accounting.
Organizational health involves an overarching sense of wellbeing, confidence and trust in one another and the leadership team. That confidence is manifested in the words and deeds of the leadership team. Their actions become a beacon for employees, as well.
How would you describe the state of organizational health in your own company?
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a professional development coach and management consultant. Her Workshops result in Playbooks for startups and small to mid-size companies who want to grow, expand and sustain their business, but are wrestling with unpredictable revenue streams. She brings these Playbooks to life in their healthier organizations. Her Playbook on leadership, business development and collaboration strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.
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