​​​​​Smart organisations also need to be Healthy

By Keith Gordon 6 February 2019






















Keith Gordon - Red Emu Advisory DirectorPatrick Lencioni -  Leadership Guru and Author of The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Jodie Williams Red Emu Advisory DirectorAndrew Madams - Red Emu Advisory Director


       As a leadership consulting business, we are privileged to work with many Smart organisations.  Our clients typically have a well-considered strategy, a clear channel to market, strong customer relationships, a great understanding of their competitive position, sound systems and processes and a workforce that is keen to make a difference.  If the business is falling short in any of these areas, it is usually understood, and plans are in place to rectify the situation.

However, when we talk to the leaders of these organisations, they generally say something along the lines of ‘we could be doing even better, something’s just not quite right, I’m not sure everyone is on the same page or we aren’t capitalising on the opportunities we have’. 

Why is it that the leaders of very Smart organisations are not satisfied that they have the business aligned and performing as well as it can?  The answer generally is that there hasn’t been as much focus on developing a Healthy organisation as there has on being Smart.


Patrick Lencioni is a recognised global thought leader in leadership and business performance and developed the concept of Organisational Health.  We were fortunate to attend a recent conference hosted by Pat where the criticality of working on both the Smart and Healthy components of Organisational Health were highlighted by Pat as well as some world class Executives such as Alan Mulally of Boeing and Ford fame.

The Health of an organisation starts at the top.  The CEO and the Executive team need to be absolutely aligned on how they are going to work together.  A fundamental building block of this is agreement on the behaviours that the team will sign up to, and a commitment for members of the team to hold each other accountable to them.  From there, it is vital that the team agree on what is important for the business to achieve in the short to medium term (over and above the regular business measures) and that the entire team commits to work collaboratively to achieve it. [rallying call, which evolves as the team and organisation meets each milestone]

However, it is not enough just for the Executive Team to be aligned.  The key to sustainable success is creating clarity for everyone in the organisation around what needs to be done and how it will be done.  Clarity, and true engagement of the workforce are the key to creating an unstoppable force in business performance – both are outcomes of a focus on being a Healthy organisation.

Clarity, engagement and the role of the leader will be the subjects of future Organisational Health blogs.  The key message for now is that sustainable performance requires organisations to be both Smart and Healthy and that being Healthy starts at the top. How the Executive Team behaves sets the tone for the rest of the organisation.

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