IS YOUR ORGANISATION ‘SICK’?
31st October 2022
When I start working with a new client I ask them to tell me how they feel the two sides of their business are functioning. Often this is met with a blank stare; I can see that they are thinking What is she talking about…there are so many ‘sides’ of a business, there can’t just be two?”
So I explain.
There is the ‘science’ part of a business, starting with the technical delivery of their product or service, as well as the essential functions of finance, marketing, website, PR, buildings etc.
And then there is the ‘health’ part, which describes how well it is functioning on the inside; is there a clear common goal? Is this being clearly communicated? How well are the staff interacting and communicating between themselves sand teams? How motivated is the workforce?
All too often companies only focus on the ‘science’ of their business and neglect to notice the warning signs of its ‘poor health’. Or they may notice them but either come to accept them or don’t really know how to deal with them. But similar to a human body – to do nothing about poor health can have a huge impact on a business’s ability, output, energy, longevity, so it is vital that business leaders and managers start to spot the signs.
If you are now beginning to wonder if you have missed any warning signs of your organisation’s possible poor health, I have drawn up a list of the key pointers to help illustrate what they might look like IRL.
Leaders, managers, and teams reporting to be constantly on the back foot, always feeling reactionary rather than strategic. Possibly overhearing these sentences (or thinking them themselves) quite frequently: “There are never enough hours in the day” or “I wish I could just clear my diary and be left to catch up on everything for about a month” or “We need to call another meeting as I don’t feel we have got a clear enough plan as to what we are doing”
Avoidable mistakes will be happening and the blame game rolls into action. Again.
There is low staff morale – especially after the long periods of time out of the office from COVID. It feels like pushing water uphill to get the cohesion of the workforce back as people’s hours and time in the office is so disjointed.
Long standing (and therefore accepted) miscommunication or frustration within teams and between teams. How often have people remarked … “Oh that’s just Martin…he’s always really abrupt…we’ve got used to it” or “Let’s not tell X team about that- otherwise they will just use it against us”?
Constant HR issues, including poor time management, increased sick days and high staff turnover. Think of the time you or your team have spent on recruitment for a position and the recruited staff member lasts a month and then resigns, so you have to start all over again. You keep questioning yourself “Is it me? Am I picking the wrong people? Why is this happening so much?” It is a complete time and energy sap. Or you are constantly spelling out what you feel are basic expectations to staff and they are just not getting it.
There will be lots of reasons for this “poor health” and usually they will have built up over a long time period and therefore can sometimes be hard to spot as they become accepted. Added to this we are all now finally getting back up to speed from COVID interruptions and this has brought about another plethora of issues and challenges to deal with.
To accept and “settle” for these situations is to the business’ peril, as they will start to rot it at its core. If we liken the business to the human body again– to discover there is poor organisational health in your business is a bit like finding out you are gluten intolerant.
There is something that is badly affecting you on the inside and you can start to see that on the outside. You feel sluggish, experience pain, you skin looks dull, you don’t have much energy and you generally feel pretty rubbish. To do nothing about this would mean that you feel more and more poorly, and the issue gets bigger and bigger until it will eventually stop you.
The same will happen with a business; poor internal health will eventually destroy it.
So, now I have explained the background, let me tell you what we do about it!
The best place to start before any ‘medicine’ is administered is to run a series of ‘tests’ so that we can understand the situation more clearly and therefore know which type of ‘medication’ will help. (When I say ‘tests’ I do not mean in the literal sense; it would be more accurate to say ‘exploratory findings’ but that didn’t sound as snappy in my analogy!!).
Start at the foundations:
I work with the leaders and managers of a business to find out what their goals and vision are for the organisation. We then discuss their values and how they want the business to behave and be seen; this will underpin everything that they do and want their staff to do. We work together on what ‘excellent’ looks like, so that the leaders and managers are really clear on what they are needing from staff and can then effectively communicate this to them. There is nothing more difficult for staff that trying to fulfil fuzzy expectations!
Get personal and team clarity:
I will then do Clarity 4D Personality Profiling of all senior staff so that they can get a better understanding of themselves, their strengths, and areas for development. We then move on to sharing this understanding with their team to help them to recognise and value the differences in how they behave and communicate and how this impacts the team. They can then use this information to start to create clear and strategic team goals and action plans, so they are all moving forward in a common direction. To put it simply- when you understand that “Clare in Accounts” leads with Blue energy and therefore likes to be able to think things through before she responds to new ideas, you don’t mind sending her an email in advance of a meeting with the key points so that she has time to formulate her answers.
Keeping the body firing on all cylinders:
Once everyone is clearer on who they are as people and teams, as well as knowing what the common goal is, I continue to work with staff, either one to one or in groups, to ensure that we are ‘feeding the body’ with the right elements for all the vital organs to work as effectively as possible. This would cover areas such a time management, self-management, communication effectiveness, goal setting and supporting them to ensure that all decisions and actions are taking staff and the business towards their values and goals and not away from them.
Like a human body, good businesses health is not just a goal to reach and think you are done; it becomes a way of life and should be a vital and constant priority to ensure maximum productivity, happiness of staff and longevity of the organisation.
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About The Author
“Kate Evans is a Business and Teams coach with over 14 years of experience coaching within a broad range of businesses, from multinational investment banks to small start-ups. Friendly, personable, and utterly pragmatic, she is there to support and challenge in equal measure to ensure her clients reach their full potential”.
If this has got you thinking and you would like to talk to Kate about how she could support your organisation to be as healthy as possible, then do get in touch with her on LinkedIn or via her website: www.kateevanscoaching.co.uk
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