We’d like to congratulate last year’s World Business Forum New York speaker Patrick Lencioni on his latest book The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. Unlike his previous eight publications, this one is not a fable, but instead comprehensively approaches the topic of management and offers a practical guide. Read on for an inside look!
So where to begin? Lencioni suggests starting with understanding Organizational Health and how it functions within your organization. He defines this concept as “about making a company function effectively by building a cohesive leadership team, establishing clarity among those leaders, communicating that clarity to everyone within the organization and putting in place just enough structure to reinforce that clarity going forward”. According to Lencioni, an organization’s health is its single most important factor for success. So, what does an organization have to do to become healthy? Lencioni outlines the four required disciplines:
1. Build a Cohesive Leadership Team - The first step is about getting the leaders of the organization to behave in a functional, cohesive way. If the people responsible for running an organization are behaving dysfunctionally it will cascade into the rest of the organization and prevent organizational health. And yes, there are concrete steps a leadership team can take to prevent this.
2. Create Clarity- The second step for building a healthy organization is ensuring that the members of that leadership team are intellectually aligned around the critical questions (Lencioni defines 6 critical questions in the book). Leaders need to be clear on important topics so that people one, two or three levels below have complete clarity about what they should do to make the organization successful.
3. Over-Communicate Clarity - Only after these first two steps are in process (behavioral and intellectual alignment), can an organization undertake the third step: over-communicating answers. Leaders of a healthy organization constantly repeat themselves and reinforce what is true and important. This quality alone sets leaders of healthy organizations apart from others.
4. Reinforce Clarity- Finally, in addition to over-communicating, leaders must ensure that the answers to the critical questions are reinforced repeatedly using simple human systems. That means any process that involves people, from hiring to performance management and decision-making, is designed in a way to support and emphasize the uniqueness of the organization.
For a summary article from Patrick Lencioni that goes more in-depth, click here!