If you have some degree of autonomy, you're overseeing something whether it's a family, cubicle, a team, a department, or a company, your number 1 job is to foster organizational health.
According to Patrick Lencioni, organizational health is The Advantage we need for real success. I believe his principles for business have parallels across all areas of life.
As an individual, your personal organizing principle determines how you manage the various areas of your life (spiritual, financial, emotional, physical, relationships, your character, your physical environment, etc).
If you're a parent, regardless whether your children are babies or adults, your top priority should be making your home a place that matures character and decision making abilities, especially in the greater areas of relationships and personal life management. If not, don't be surprised when you're loved ones end up on a path to unhealthy self-neglect and your relationships decline.
Whatever level of management you may be in at work, if your organizational health is not well, systemic issues will increasingly diminish your effectiveness, vitality, and outcomes.
How do you know if your organization is healthy?
- Minimal politics (lack of power struggles, resentments, passive aggressiveness)
- Minimal confusion (values can be seen and articulated by all)
- High levels of morale and productivity (people love being there and get a lot done)
- Low turnover (good people don't leave)
All those in charge would agree that their organizations/families need those qualities but whether they actually exist and get substantial, consistent time, attention, and resources is another story.
This kind of health must rise above all other priorities.
It's the number one hindrance to lasting success and thriving for all. Moreover, it sucks the soul out of people and is a major cause for compromise, corruption, collusion, and internal collapse.
How does an organization (family, church, company, etc) become healthy?
It's increasing the clarity of values through your behavior, attitudes, and what you consistently prioritize. It's what gets communicated and reminded the most. But it doesn't stop there, it also gets reinforced. Structures for accountability get created. How, how often and where you do this determine the effectiveness of your team's development, collaboration and long term success.
For a family, what gets clarified in this way determines the wellness and direction of its members and their relationships. Too often, there are disconnects between spouses, parents and children because we lack clarity on what matters most. We all love our family members but many families experience heart breaking outcomes because of mixed, confusing messages. The outcomes affirm the effectiveness of what was or wasn't clarified.
Rather than clarity and intentionality, systemic dysfunction ignores the critical elements for effectively prioritizing what matters most. This occurs when we do not have awareness of unexamined defaults. We are so focused on others' expectations, and we're driven by unaddressed insecurity and anxiety caused by limiting beliefs and outdated rules. We don't give attention to these underlying conditions because we presume that's just the way things are or we simply fixate on productivity.
In order to effectively deal with defaults, we need to think and talk through fundamentals like the following:
- Meaningful and relevant context for why what we do matters
- Healthy values that are inviolable because they truly help all thrive
- Knowing what business we’re in, especially when it comes to family
- Making intentional decisions that distinguish us and help us succeed
- Being aware of our season in life; knowing what is most important in the next 3-12 months
- Who must do what to succeed, especially top level leaders
When these are not clarified with substantial depth, defaults like the following (shaped by family of origin and culture) take the lead:
- I don't have enough time, money, and resources.
- I'm not good enough to deserve better.
- I'm not enough; I will always be catching up.
- Money must be central because that's how the world works.
- Talking never helps.
- I should be farther along.
- It's too late to change.
- I have too many responsibilities. Got to keep all the plates spinning.
- I can't subtract anything. Everything I'm doing is important.
- Busyness is a badge of honor.
- I'm nothing if I'm not being productive.
- I don't know who I am and it doesn't matter anyway.
- It's too difficult and it'll take too long to change and it won't be worth it anyway.
- Work is the main thing that defines me and gives me worth.
When they take the lead, our organizations unknowingly perpetuate unhealthy beliefs, values and behaviors. Much needed real change in real time doesn't happen and those we lead, care for and serve do not experience the success and fulfillment they desire or deserve. And these sacrifices are made for the 'good' of the organization. But Jesus said, "What does it profit to gain the world but lose your soul?" Unhealthy organizations continually propagate instinctual beliefs that oppose Jesus' priority of the soul.
Unhealthy defaults must be addressed if parents want to cultivate growth by centering the family around healthy ways of communication, stemming from healthy emotions. This promotes balance of challenge and support to liberate each member to achieve their potential.
Failure to pursue organizational health prevents us from envisioning and experiencing greater long term success. We get confused with trying to get others to fulfill our hidden ego-centric desires. We look for commitment and loyalty to our cause rather than looking to bring liberty and revolutionary love into the world.
Here are a bunch of ingredients that contribute to clarity and organizational health:
Courage and compassion to manage and lead one's own interior life, soulful connections, real heart felt trust, vulnerability/humanness, love, humility, honesty and affinity for truthful dealing of brutal facts, goodness/benevolence, whole heartedness, patience and kindness, mindset of sufficiency rather than scarcity, heart and soul as more important than anything else, self care and keeping of one's soul healthy and thriving.
Are you living and leading towards greater organizational health and effectively addressing systemic problems at home and work? This is the mission of Family Connections Coaching! Let's create new, healthier systems within ourselves, our families, and our organizations.