Keeping Organizations Healthy

Organizations of any kind, like humans, are “alive” and  dynamic and therefore require nourishment and occasional visits to doctors to thrive. “Nourishment” for an organization can include:

  • A clear sense of what is important (ie.,what it is seeking to achieve and why), how it is going after its goals (normally termed “strategy”), what it has to work with to be successful (its know-how, resources, reputation, and momentum), acceptable “rules of engagement” for employees vis a vis their colleagues, their work, and the organization’s customers.
  • Deliberate caring toward the employees that is oriented to what’s important to them (including: meaningful work, respect from bosses and other employees, reasonable discretion to do their jobs, recognition for achievement and effort, fair compensation, awareness of what is going on in the organization as it seeks to achieve its goals, the means to communicate their ideas and responses to organizational life, fair compensation, and prospects for further advancement).

“Doctor Visits” by an organization can include assessments of how the organization is functioning and how the employees are faring(learned from various organizational assessment studies and surveys); as well as occasional “renewals” of the organization’s spirit, structure, behavior norms, priorities, processes and procedures—that involve employees at all levels in discussions about those topics and what could be better.

Of course, the elements of “nourishment” and “doctor visits” need to be done within the constraints of economic reality.

In both nourishment and doctor visits,  it is vital that employees’ heads and hearts are appealed to. In that spirit, the chances to strengthen employee engagement and build overall organization performance will be greatly enhanced.

To learn more about improving any organization’s health, read my new book The Soul of the Organization which provides a framework and many illustrations on this topic.