After doing a lot of research on an area, I often create a document that synthesizes the most significant principles I’ve learned on the subject. A few years ago I did this on the subject of organizational health. I thought it might be useful to share them with you. In this case, I focused mostly on one book, Patrick Lencioni’s excellent The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. So these are essentially my notes from his book, organized for the purpose of making them as easy to follow as possible.
Organizational Health Principles
Notes from Patrick Lencioni’s The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, and a few other things.
- It is the appreciation for simplicity and discipline that makes one an extraordinary executive.
- Success is not so much a function of intelligence or natural ability, but rather of commitment to the right disciplines.
- We can become poor leaders if we let ourselves become distracted by overly tactical and political matters.
- Organizational health is one competitive advantage that is available to any company that wants it, yet it is largely ignored. And, it is highly sustainable because it is not based on information or intellectual property. It should occupy a lot of time and attention of extraordinary executives (139).
- “A healthy organization is one that has less politics and confusion, higher morale and productivity, lower unwanted turnover, and lower recruiting costs than an unhealthy one” (140).
- The core idea of organizational health is to create, communicate, and reinforce organizational clarity.
- There are four components to creating a healthy organization: create a cohesive leadership team, create organizational clarity, over-communicate organizational clarity, and reinforce organizational clarity through human systems.
I recently received a helpful question from a reader who was looking for a framework to help him think through his business in a comprehensive way. I thought it might be good to make this more broadly available as well, so here’s the main part of what I shared (less the actual links and, of course, the book images!).
Great question regarding frameworks. I agree that discovering the framework behind anything helps you understand it much better. For business and management, I follow the framework Tom Peters gives in one of the first three chapters or so of his book In Search of Excellence, which I find to be super helpful and without holes:
- Guiding concepts (mission, values, standards; should be unchanging)
- Strategy (how to get from here to there; changes with environment but must be consistent with guiding concepts)
- Structure (how everyone is organized to get from here to there; so must align with the strategy and, again, must reflect the guiding concepts)
- Systems (mechanisms that make things work and keep them running that are woven throughout the structure–things like hiring practices, firing practices, performance management, the systems for executing the specific work of the organization, and so forth)
- Skills and style (people’s abilities and strengths harnessed in the service of the organization’s purpose)
- People (the actual people)
An excellent article at the 99% on how ”non-cognitive traits like optimism, zest, gratitude, and grit make children (and adults) more likely to succeed.”
This article discusses scientific research backing this. What’s interesting is that this is an excellent statement of the character ethic, which states that success is most fundamentally a function of your character rather than your technique (I talk about this a bit in my book). Here we have scientific confirmation.
Not that scientific confirmation is essential, or that success is first about what you achieve in life, but it is interesting nonetheless.
Individualize. Understand our uniqueness so that they treat us according to how God has made us, not how they wish he had made us.
This is why those who say “The Golden Rule is off-based — when I treat others how I prefer to be treated, they don’t like it.”
The problem with that statement is that it misses the crucial step. Each of us want to be treated individually and understood accurately. Do that for others first, then do unto them as you would have done unto you if those things were true of you.
The reason is that the work God enables you to do for him is a gift. A gift to you, first of all.
This is why it makes no sense to compare. Why would we begrudge that God did not give us a gift intended for another? It wouldn’t fit. It would be like giving size 8 shoes to someone who needs size 10.
It is not that one size is better than another, but that one size fits one person rather than another, so that the full spectrum of God’s varied grace may be displayed.
(Note: If you truly want to excel, pursue love and seek to “outdo one another in showing honor” [Romans 12]. Love is the competition no one loses.)
I’m not sure that the essence of repentance is being able to list of all your sins to the Lord.
Obviously, it is crucial to recognize our specific sins, confess, and repent.
But it seems to me that we also have to recognize before the Lord our sin of not being able to see all our sins.
We need to cast ourselves on his sheer mercy. Yes, confessing what we know, but also asking forgiveness and mercy — and then sanctification — for the sins we are not aware of.
(Which may be the most substantial arena of sin!)
Peter Drucker: “The greatest need in underdeveloped countries is people who build … an effective organization of skilled and trained people exercising judgment and making responsible decisions.”
It’s because voting is an intrinsic good, not merely an instrumental good.
In other words, even independent of your vote’s affect on the outcome of the election, voting is a good thing that matters in itself.
This is because when you vote, you are exercising your rights, and doing so for the good of the nation. Exercising your rights, when done for the good of others, is a reflection of the image of God and his plan for human government.
Therefore, voting is good in itself and there is much more going on here than simply determining the outcome of the election. In one sense, voting is an expression of what it means to be human — namely, the fact that we are all equal before God and the law and that God put us on earth not to be tyrannized over by government, but rather for government to be the servant of the people.
So, if you haven’t yet, go vote! And do so even if you think the outcome for your state is already set.
Who can endure a doctrine which would allow only dentists to say whether our teeth were aching, only cobblers to say whether our shoes hurt us, and only governments to tell us whether we were being well governed?
Not even sure how to categorize that, but it has a thousand ramifications. Great insight.