By Ned Pauley
As I write this we are a few short weeks away from closing the book on 2015 and welcoming the arrival of 2016. A new year represents a new start which is why we choose this time to create resolutions for our personal lives. We think about how we could be different. Better. More of who we long to be physically, financially, emotionally, relationally and spiritually. In a word, we seek to be healthier. If the past year has found us simply maintaining, or worse, regressing, in any of these areas the New Year offers an ideal opportunity to choose good health.
The same opportunity exists for us organizationally. As leaders and direction setters in our financial institutions, we would do well to intentionally and thoughtfully consider the health of our organization. “How engaged are our employees?” “How cohesive is our team?” “Are we all committed to the same mission, vision, and values?” Unfortunately, with busy schedules and pressing demands, time to honestly assess our corporate health doesn’t rise to the level of priority. Addressing organizational health is always important, rarely urgent, and usually ignored. As Patrick Lencioni states in the opening lines of his best-selling book, “The Advantage,” “The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it.”
Let this be your encouragement to start your year resolved to improve the organizational health of your financial institution. But how? I know of no better guide than Lencioni’s aforementioned book. However, if you feel you are currently unable to fully tackle all he has to say about becoming a healthy organization, let me suggest you consider asking and answering the six questions he says are essential to establishing organizational clarity:
1. Why do we exist?
2. How do we behave?
3. What do we do?
4. How will we succeed?
5. What is most important, right now?
6. Who must do what?
Having crystal clarity regarding these core questions guiding your institution is the first step to ensuring your team is all moving in the same direction. As Lencioni says, “If members of a leadership team can rally around some clear answers to these fundamental questions—without using jargon and smarmy language—they will drastically increase the likelihood of creating a healthy organization.”
A New Year is here. Don’t allow another year to go by without investing in the health of your organization. Here’s to a healthier you.