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I’m reading an interesting book called “The Advantage” by Patrick Lencioni. In the book, he talks about the importance of organizational health. We don’t often focus on organizational health, even though most of us know how bad it is to be part of an unhealthy organization. Most of the time, we focus on things like strategy, information, techniques, technology, and the like. But Lencioni argues that what differentiates successful organizations from unsuccessful ones is the health of the organization.

This makes sense, if you think about it. If you’re a healthy organization, you can work together, learn from your mistakes, and access the information and technology that you need. But if you are an unhealthy organization, mired in confusion and politics, no amount of information will save you.

2 Keys of Organizational Health

There are two key aspects of organizational health: cohesion and clarity.

Cohesion

First, it is important to build cohesion in the leadership team. The leadership team doesn’t have to be best friends with each other, but there needs to be a baseline level of trust and connection on the team. The leadership team has to be honest with one another and work through interpersonal issues when they arise. “Cohesion killers” such as political maneuvering and passive-aggressive behavior must be addressed and worked through.

Clarity

Second, it is important to have clarity about the key values and goals of the organization. Every person on the leadership team needs to be crystal clear about what is important to the organization, and what direction the organization is headed. Then, these key values and goals need to be communicated to the rest of the organization so everyone is on the same page. You can’t over-communicate about these things—clarity happens through repetition and reinforcement.

How is Your Organization Doing?

Take a few minutes and think about the organization you are a part of. How cohesive is the leadership team? Is everyone on the same page? Can you work through difficult issues when they come up? Or are interpersonal problems swept under the rug?

Also, how clear is the vision of the organization? Can everyone clearly state the mission and values of the organization? Are these pillars of the organization communicated clearly to everyone? What is one thing your organization could do to work on cohesion and/or clarity?

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