Archives For Organizational_Health
Recently, I had the opportunity to do some teaching on Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage (an excellent book by the way). The book is focused on organizational health and a major theme running through the book is the need for clarity. It seems obvious, but so few organizations/leaders actually achieve clarity.
Leaders owe clear and consistent direction to those they lead – without clarity people flounder and so will the organization. Read some of the following quotes:
“Unfortunately, most of the leaders I’ve worked with who complain about a lack of alignment mistakenly see it primarily as a behavioral or attitudinal problem. In their minds, it’s a function of the fact that employees below them do not want to work together. What those executives don’t realize is that there cannot be alignment deeper in the organization, even when employees want to cooperate, if the leaders at the top aren’t in lockstep with one another around a few very specific things.
No matter how many times executives preach about the “e” word in their speeches, there is no way that their employees can be empowered to fully execute their responsibilities if they don’t receive clear and consistent messages about what is important from their leaders across the organization.” – Lencioni, Patrick M. (2012-08-21). The Advantage, Enhanced Edition: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business (pp. 74-75). Jossey-Bass. Kindle Edition.
“What would happen if we could figure out the one thing you could do that would make the highest contribution?” I asked him. He responded sincerely: ‘That is the question.’ ” – Mckeown, Greg (2014-04-15). Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Kindle Locations 171-172). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
We owe it to others to provide them clarity about where we are going and how we plan to get there – confusion and ambiguity do not produce organizational health and effectiveness.
So – today -, how are you going to provide your team even greater clarity about where you are headed?
Have a great week!
The principles were as follows:
3. Intimate Technical Knowledge
6. Continuous Improvement
You need to get the book and read the full explanation of each of these to appreciate their power.
The key point is that establishing a set of clearly, and often, communicated guiding principles was one of the ways he took one of the poorest performing submarines in the fleet to one of the best, if not the best, in the fleet.
So what are your guiding principles for your organization? At the end of the week, Lauren will be sharing how you develop your own personal set of guiding principles.
Have a great week!
Last week I wrote a post about the book Mission Drift and shortly afterwards received an email from a friend thanking me for the post, but then asking what do you do if you sense that is happening in your organization.
My first thought was about how to start changing others then realized that it starts with me. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about how a Level 5 leader first “looks in the mirror” whenever faced with an organizational issue. So, if you want to change the culture, maybe the best place to start is with yourself.
Do you have the mindsets of humility, trust, dependency, and growth? Could you be an obstacle to the growth of others? What tone are you setting in your sphere of influence? Are you really growing and continuously developing or are you still dealing with default habits that keep you rooted in old practices?
Are you an encourager and developer of others or are you so consumed with your “thing” that you fail to invest in others?
So, maybe if we want to change the culture, we might want to begin with ourselves.
Take a look in the mirror.
Good morning! Still hoping it will one day actually be Spring here in the Midwest, but we have snow in the forecast for Tuesday!!
Last week, I did a brief post on the book Mission Drift and was asked by a friend of mine if there is mission drift, how do you get back on track? What I am going to do is take some key points from the book to talk about how you might be able to get prevent and even correct mission drift
First, this statement: “Without careful attention, faith-based organizations will inevitably drift from their founding mission. It’s that simple. It will happen.”
Read the following mission statement and then tell me who you think it applies to. “To be plainly instructed and consider well that the main end of our life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ.” Who did you guess? Would you believe that it is the founding mission of Harvard University? It’s original motto was Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae, meaning “Truth for Christ and the Church.” Now it is simply Veritas. Eighty years later Yale was founded to counter the drift seen at Harvard – we have seen how that has worked out over the years!
The Pew Charitable Trusts were founded by a devout Christian, Howard Pew, and he helped Billy Graham launch Christianity Today. Howard Pew created the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Today, the Pew Charitable Trusts fund Planned Parenthood and some Ivy League schools, but no longer do they support the seminary founded by Howard Pew. An astonishing example of Mission Drift.
However, there are ways to counter our natural tendency towards mission drift (as the authors note, since organizations are made up of by individuals, then this has to be addressed at the individual level). The authors talk about what it means to be a Mission True organization.
Mission True – the authors of Mission Drift give us several examples of what characterizes Mission True organizations.
1. They recognize that Christ is the difference
2. They affirm that faith sustains them.
3. They Understand that functional atheism is the path of least resistance.
“Mission True organizations know who they are and actively safeguard, reinforce, and celebrate their DNA. Leaders constantly push toward higher levels of clarity about their mission and even more intentionality about protecting it.”
Steps Mission True organizations take:
1. Seek clarity first.
2. Acknowledge that the pressure to drift is constant.
3. Realize there’s a point of no return.
4. Make hard directions to correct drift.
Please do realize that change does not equal drift. In fact, being Mission True necessitates that you change to continue to meet your mission.
Mission True Boards do the following:
1. Recruit carefully and prayerfully.
2. Hold the CEO responsible for the mission.
3. Follow standard board practices (Note: check out Boards That Lead).
4. Create policies and safeguards.
5. Remember the mission.
In regards to hiring, Mission True organizations:
1. Hire slow and fire fast.
2. Clearly define your approach to hiring based on faith.
3. Be consistent with your hiring policy.
4. Inculcate staff in your values and history.
Mission True organizations understand the importance of culture. They know that:
1. Small things matter.
2. Consistency counts.
3. Exemplars should be celebrated.
4. Embed spiritual disciplines.
Mission Drift is real and a threat to all organizations founded with a purpose. And there are ways to prevent and correct that drift.
As a leader you must be always aware of the danger and vigilant in quickly detecting and correcting mission drift when it begins to occur. Also, do not confuse changes of methodology with change in mission. Very often, change in methodology is exactly what is needed to prevent mission drift.
This is a key leadership task – what are you doing to prevent mission drift in your organization?