How to Create a Healthy Culture

How to Create a Healthy Culture

Betty Brennan
President and Founder
Taylor Studios, Inc.

Is your company healthy? How do you know?

According to Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage if your organization is healthy it has these characteristics:

  • Minimal Politics
  • Minimal Confusion
  • High Morale
  • High Productivity
  • Low Turnover

Have you created this in your organization or did you feel a little uneasy when you read those? Patrick says, “The single greatest advantage any organization can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it.”

It can be a messy process to create a healthy team, kind of like a marriage. The four disciplines the book defines as needed are:

  1. Build a Cohesive Leadership Team
  2. Create Clarity
  3. Overcommunicate Clarity
  4. Reinforce Clarity

There’s a lot of clarity in there.

Cohesive Leadership

Teamwork at the top is critical to any group’s success. This group is collectively responsible for achieving a common objective. Building teamwork is a choice. There are things you can do to build the cohesiveness of your leadership team. The five behaviors outlined in the book are:

  1. Build Trust
  2. Master Conflict
  3. Achieve Commitment
  4. Embrace Accountability
  5. Focus on Results

Create Clarity

This is all about creating alignment. It’s your mission and core values. It’s your strategic planning in which when complete you should be able to answer these six questions.

  1. Why do we exist?
  2. How do we behave?
  3. What do we do?
  4. How will we succeed?
  5. What is most important, right now?
  6. Who must do what?

Overcommunicate Clarity

Now that you have your mission and core values you have to communicate it to your team over and over again. It is said people have to hear something seven times before they believe it. You can tell stories, post your mission, do consistent messaging and make it clear what should be said after every meeting. I used to walk around the company and give out five dollar bills to those that could recite our mission. You know you are successful when staff can accurately state your organization’s reason for being, the values and your goals.

Reinforce Clarity

You continually reinforce who you are through all of your systems – every process that involves people. You know you have mastered this when you can say “yes” to the following statements:

  • You have a simple way to know new hires are selected based on your organization’s values.
  • New people are thoroughly taught the six questions of clarity.
  • Managers have a simple, consistent and nonbureaucratic approach for setting goals and reviewing staff’s progress.
  • Staff that don’t fit the values are managed out of the system. Poor performers who do fit the values are given the coaching needed to succeed.
  • Pay and reward systems are built around the values and the goals.

Creating a healthy organization will not only help your team it will offer more inspiration to your clients, build partnerships, create good relationships with your vendors and can even extend to your home life. If anything is worthy of your efforts creating a healthy organization could have the biggest impact on others. I encourage you to read and implement The Advantage.

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