Just like people, workplaces can have underlying illnesses – high absenteeism, low morale, conflict, retention problems and performance issues are all symptoms of an unhealthy organisation.
According to business consultant Errol Amerasekera who recently presented at AIM, healthy organisations utilise a unique approach to business that views challenges as symptoms. Not only this, but they also develop efficient, effective and sustainable solutions to these challenges.
So, how healthy is your organisation?
Here are the eight pillars of organisational health, as outlined by Errol. By ensuring your business follows these suggestions, you can encourage a far healthier organisational culture.
1. Be a learning organisation
Being a learning organisation means that you understand the importance of self-reflection and take the time to do this for your business on a regular basis. You need to keep asking – Where are we challenged? What could we be doing differently? How could things be better? But most importantly, you must be willing to identify areas for improvement and act upon them.
2. Ensure you are continually illuminating and aligning to purpose
This is about understanding the ‘why’ of your organisation. With an understanding of your ‘why’ and a common goal that you are all striving to achieve, you can capture the hearts and minds of your people. You need to have a clear vision and ensure all staff feel like they are part of a bigger picture with a shared purpose.
3. Follow a clear, explicit and integrated strategy
As Errol so astutely pointed out, a strategy is not a strategy unless everybody on the team understands, believes in and is working towards the same strategy. It is the leader’s job to ensure that everybody knows the strategy and is working towards the same agreed goals using the same agreed process.
4. Promote leadership that’s aligned to the role and process-driven
This is all about stepping out of the task and seeing the bigger picture. Sometimes we need to have an aerial view of the task and the organisation, in order to see potential problems and possible solutions.
5. Encourage healthy communication
According to Errol, leaders need to over-communicate the purpose, strategy, values and role clarity within teams. To do this, we need to be clear, concise and consistent in our communication. While it may feel like you’re being repetitious, it is essential that we talk everything out so everyone is on the same page.
6. Nurture a culture of shared accountability
Accountability is very important to business strategy – without accountability, we cannot reflect on our achievements or assess our shortcomings. Leaders need to be brave enough to have those sometimes challenging conversations and ensure everybody understands their responsibilities.
7. Think systemically
This pillar encourages employees to think more carefully about how they affect one another. Together as leaders we need to build strong teams who support one another. We need to think less about just meeting our own KPIs and more about the overall team goals. After all, true business success is a group effort, made up of many tiny actions and contributions.
8. Highlight the importance of personal health, vitality and wellbeing
This is all about promoting a healthy and happy workplace. But it’s not just about encouraging your employees to take more breaks or exercise after work – according to Errol, you need to build a culture of health and vitality into your business model so that it is an accepted and expected part of the everyday culture. For example, you could make meditation time or yoga a daily team activity.
By integrating these eight important pillars into your business model and culture, you can heal many of those workplace ‘illnesses’ that hold you back from success. Plus, you can create a nurturing, collaborative and motivational workplace culture that people want to be a part of.
Errol Amerasekera is passionate about creating a safer and more just world for all by mediating conflict, coaching ethical leadership and facilitating transformation in individuals, communities and organisations. Errol has a B.Sc, B.App.Sci (Chiro), MACFOC, and is a Business Consultant, Trainer, Senior Facilitator and Director at True North Learning.