The First Step to Organizational Health

After two decades of working with CEOs and their teams of senior executives, I’ve become absolutely convinced that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre or unsuccessful ones has little, if anything, to do with what they know or how smart they are; it has everything to do with how healthy they are.”* – Patrick Lencioni, The AdvantageThe Advantage Book

Like I once did, you might have thought that what really made the difference between organizations was innovation, creativity, “smarts”, great strategy, marketing and so on. Not so according to Mr. Lencioni. And from my experience (not nearly as extensive as Mr. Lencioni’s!) I completely agree. I have encountered so many organizations from companies, to churches, to non-profits that have great, smart, talented. passionate people and they are operating like they are in quicksand. What is lacking is organizational health – they are dysfunctional in much the same way some families are dysfunctional.

Additionally, after becoming immersed in the culture of my new employer, Ambassador Enterprises, I have an even deeper understanding of the importance of organizational health. At Ambassador, we have some core “sayings” such as, Relational Effectiveness Drives Organizational Performance and one of our core goals is creating A Community That Cares and A Team That Performs. Notice that “A Community That Cares” comes before “A Team That Performs”. That order / priority is very intentional and very important. We are very focused on organizational health and as a result it is a community that cares and is a high performing team of professionals!

Mr. Lencioni states that there is an important first step to a healthy organization – a cohesive leadership team. He goes on to say, “The first step a leadership team has to take if it wants the organization it leads to be healthy—and to achieve the advantages that go with it—is to make itself cohesive. There’s just no way around it. If an organization is led by a team that is not behaviorally unified, there is no chance that it will become healthy.”*

And at Ambassador, we would go on to say that if you want a healthy leadership team, you need individual leaders who are healthy. You need leaders with high Emotional Intelligence, who are mature individuals, and who care deeply about community.

Is your organization healthy? Why not? What are the dysfunctions you are seeing? How can you help your organization become healthy?  How about you? What are your opportunities to grow and become a healthier leader?

Today – resolve to become healthier and stronger. Quit struggling in the quicksand. Get out and make a difference.


*Lencioni, Patrick M. (2012-08-21). The Advantage, Enhanced Edition: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business (pp. 8-9, 19). Jossey-Bass. Kindle Edition.