Today I finished the first book of 2021, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick Lencioni. In this book, the author introduces a model for achieving success for companies through organizational health. The following four disciplines are necessary for a healthy organization.
DISCIPLINE 1: BUILD A COHESIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM
The first and most critical step in a healthy organization is creating a cohesive leadership team that is committed to do the ongoing work of developing and maintaining a high-performing team and mastering the five behaviors outlined in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.
- Being open and building trust
- Engaging in constructive ideological conflict
- Committing to clear decisions
- Holding one another accountable for behaviors and performance
- Focusing on collective results
DISCIPLINE 2: CREATE CLARITY
Creating clarity at the executive level is essential to building and maintaining a healthy organization. There are six simple but critical questions that need to be answered, eliminating all discrepancies among team members.
- Why do we exist?
- How do we behave?
- What do we do?
- How will we succeed?
- What is most important, right now?
- Who must do what?
The author detailed on the idea of a thematic goal or a rallying cry to answer the fifth question above in his book – Silos, Politics and Turf Wars.
DISCIPLINE 3: OVERCOMMUNICATE CLARITY
Once a leadership team has become cohesive and established clarity around the six critical questions, they need to communicate the answers to employees over and over again. There are specific communication strategies the leadership team can employ to ensure that messaging is consistent and absorbed by employees.
DISCIPLINE 4: REINFORCE CLARITY
For an organization to be healthy, organizational clarity (the six critical questions) must become embedded into the fabric of the organization. Systems in the following areas need to tie to the six questions: Recruiting and hiring The Ideal Team Player, managing performance, compensation and rewards, and real-time recognition.
In addition to these four steps, it is essential that a healthy organization get better at the one activity that underpins everything it does: meetings. Without making a few simple but fundamental changes to the way meetings happen, a healthy organization will struggle to maintain what it has worked hard to build. The author talks more about the four types of meetings in his book Death by Meetings.