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“Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else”

In Patrick Lencioni’s new book The Advantage he makes his case for why organizational health is the most important characteristic in any successful business or not for profit organization.

“At its core, organizational health is about integrity, but not in the ethical or moral way that integrity is defined so often today. An organization has integrity – is healthy – when it is whole, consistent, and complete, that is, when its management, operations, strategy and culture fit together and make sense.

…any organization that really wants to maximize its success must come to embody two basic qualities: it must be smart, and it must be healthy.

Smart organizations are good at those classic fundamentals of business – subjects like strategy, marketing, finance, and technology – which I consider to be decision sciences.

But being smart is only half the equation. Yet somehow it occupies almost all the time, energy, and attention of most executives. The other half of the equation, the one that is largely neglected, is about being healthy.

A good way to recognize health is to look for the signs that indicate an organization has it. These include minimal politics and confusion, high degrees of morale and productivity, and very low turnover among good employees.

The vast majority of organizations today have more than enough intelligence, expertise, and knowledge to be successful. What they lack is organizational health.

This point is worth restating.

After two decades of working with CEO’s 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 the how healthy they are.”

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