‘Organisational health’ is a term used to describe the strength or wellbeing of an organisation. It is the measure of an organisations’ focus towards a clear, defined purpose. Organisational health is revealed when we answer the question ‘how geared towards a successful mission are we?’ It is measured by assessing five individual elements:
Five Elements of Organisational Health
Mission clarifies the organisations’ reason for existence. It is the response to the question ‘are we clear on what we need to do to see success?’
Vision provides an ultimate goal or end-game. It is the response to the question ‘are we clear on what success looks like?’
Culture reveals the organisations’ corporate thinking. It is revealed when we ask the question ‘are we truly cultivating the beliefs needed to see success?’
The organisation structure shows the focus of the organisations’ activity and people. It is the response to the question ‘are we building something that will help us see success?’
The strategy of the organisation highlights its plans, goals and targets. It answers the question ‘do we have a clear and effective plan for success?’
Five Costs of Poor Organisational Health
An effective organisational assessment examines each of these five elements. Each element impacts the other four so poor health in one area has an effect across the organisation. Significant issues can arise if the problem isn’t diagnosed and addressed.
An unclear or unknown organisational mission means that there is no guiding principle to define success. Time, resources and energy will be wasted on endeavours not part of what the organisation originally set out to do.
An organisational vision that is not clear or mission-centric will result in no goal to aim for, or no guiding picture defining what success looks like. The organisation will meander, function reactively, or jump from fad to fad in the endless search for formulas of success or ‘silver bullets.’
Organisational cultures that are at odds with the vision will result in beliefs, preferences, attitudes and behaviours existing that may be counter-productive to the vision. There won’t be the internal attitudes in the organisation to move towards the vision in unity.
A structure in the organisation that does not serve the vision shows itself through an inability to maximise available resources, or results in an organisation that is process, people or structure-centred instead of vision-led.
Any organisational strategy that is unhealthy will not advance the mission of the organisation. Because strategy demonstrates the organisations’ priorities and direction, an unhealthy strategy would manifest as no clear or consistent steps forward, and no momentum to bring about change. The urgent will dominate the important, or there could be a paralysis of analysis as no-one seems clear on what should be done next.
Simply put, organisational health is a significant factor in the success of any business, organisation or non-profit. A simple assessment based on these five elements will identify current issues and allow them to be addressed decisively.
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