“Smart” means being really good at the hard skills: strategy, sales, marketing, product development, customer service, finance, etc. “Healthy” means excelling at the soft skills: communicating well, collaborating well, cooperating well; minimizing politics and confusion; and fostering an open and honest environment where people genuinely enjoy working together.
Want some proof that healthy pays? If you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500 at the beginning of 1997, your investment would have grown to about $17,400 by year-end 2011. If you invested the same $10,000 in Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, you would have had $39,500.
Why? Healthy organizations excel at tapping into the collective knowledge, experience, and intellectual capital of not only their employees, but those of their customers and vendors as well. Consequently, relative to their peer group, they have lower employee turnover (typically less than half as much), higher productivity (less shrinkage, better safety ratings), less customer turnover (higher customer services ratings) and better reputations (making it easier to acquire new customers).
So how does a company become “Healthy?” By getting everyone on the “Same Page.” By that, we mean Healthy organizations have an overall integrity with regard to what the business is, where it is going, how it is going get there, and who is responsible for what. Collectively this is known as the What, Where, Who and How. It’s actually really simple but most organizations don’t take the time to make sure everyone is on the Same Page at the senior leadership level with regard to these fundamentals—let alone throughout the entire organization.
Why is that? Our experience in working with over 550 companies suggests that 95% of leadership teams are not even halfway to being on the Same Page. There are a range of reasons for this. It may be too complicated—leadership feels there are too many things to worry about and doesn’t even know where to start. It could be that leaders simply have not done the hard work to get everyone on the Same Page. They might be reluctant or afraid to address issues, or they may not have the time or appreciate the value. Another possibility is that they may be waiting to add or change out one of their senior leadership members. Whatever the reason, many leadership teams struggle to get everyone on the same page and achieve Health in their company.
So what does it take to get everyone on the Same Page and, maybe just as importantly, is there a simple way to periodically measure Organizational Health? Stay tuned…
Until then, be well.