3 Leadership “Hows” Critical for Organizational Health

“To sustain high performance, organizations must build the capacity to learn and keep changing over time.”

What does a healthy organization look like in your mind? Employees finding meaning through their work? Customers finding transforming experiences through their interactions with you? Investors & shareholders making a difference through their investments?

That’s what it should look like, and in a small percentage of organizations it does. So what’s missing in your organizations’ health?

The following 9m20s McKinsey Quarterly interview of Scott Keller & Colin Price, authors of Beyond Performance; How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage,  discusses different recipes for organizational health.. bringing up a lot of the building blocks that far too many organizations seem to still get wrong.

I kept hearing the word “leadership”.. and the varying aspects of leadership repeated throughout the discussion.

1. Performance starts when you set a powerful Vision

Leaders need to set and effectively communicate the strategy required to achieve the big goal they’re going for that can be measured in financial terms. Effective leaders need to understand strategically where their organization is going, and they need to master how to make necessary the adjustments in a timely fashion in order to out perform their competitors in the future.

A leadership team needs to figure out an effective way to divide amongst itself key responsibilities of Market Focus, Impeccable Execution and creating Knowledge Core.

2. Organizational Health & Continuos Improvement

Leaders need to focus on what will keep an organization fit in order to continue to perform in the future. Leaders need to proactively align people toward where the organization wants to go. Leaders need to facilitate how efficiently their organization executes against their strategy, as well as concern themselves with how to continually renew along the way.

There are differing receipies for success, and results prove that awards & incentives alone are less powerful then previously thought. What culture are you building to drive a successful outcome? What are the drivers & motivators you need across your enterprise?

Start by confronting your reality! How ready is your organization to get “from here to there”? Inventory your organizational talent, skill & will. Inventory your organizations’ role modeling, communication & story telling capabilities, along with the incentives & processes in place to take full advantage of your available talent & skill pool. Now socially architect what should be changing in each of these arenas and determine the respective timeframes required for change.

The hardest part is moving to action.. more than just a weekend retreat or worn off initiatives.. actively integrate an organizational health perspective into all aspects of the business.

3. Adapting to new eras of competition

Companies must adopt a continuous flux of transformation, managing to continuously improve their “performance” over time to better adapt to their new environments as new eras of competition arise. Your leadership capacity or leadership engine is what drives the ability to mix & match, and blend the necessary recipes that will bring an organization the success it requires to maintain its competitive advantage. Identify the necessary ingredients that will work best to achieve the outcome you require, and get to work!.

Direction & Delegation

In summary, all of the above is about direction & delegation. An effective leader needs to set the direction that he wants his team to strive for and lead by example in order to inspire them along the journey. An effective leader needs to delegate so they can rise above the day-to-day tactics, assuming a powerful “balcony position” where they have clear sight of the horizon ahead of them in order to successfully navigate their ship to the next port.

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