There are two sides every healthy organization needs to pay attention to in order to thrive:
- The smart side
- The healthy side
“When we talk about smarts, you have to put people in the right positions with the right education,” said Daniel Massic, a principal consultant for The Table Group — providing organizational health consulting, speaking and resources, including “The Fives Dysfunctions of a Team” and “The Advantage” by founder Patrick Lencioni. “And you want those people to be smart at what they do, educated and knowledgeable.”
However, he said often organizations fall into the trap of just thinking about smarts. But if you have politics — i.e. when you have a meeting and then you have the meeting after the meeting in the hallway, or you hold back what you were going to say because of who was in the room — it can create an unhealthy organization even if you have people in the right seats.
EXTRA CREDIT: When creating your organizational chart, it might be time to rethink how it’s structured.
“Healthy companies have minimal politics and minimal confusion,” said Massic. “So, the smart side is important; the healthy side actually is equally as important or more. And we believe if you double down on the healthy side — working to get those politics down, the confusion down, the morale productivity up — you will get smarter.”
But how does one do that?
Massic said the first step is to build a cohesive leadership team around the five core behaviors listed in “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” which are:
- Absence of trust
- Fear of conflict
- Lack of commitment
- Avoidance of accountability
- Inattention to results
“I recommend every CEO, every leader of any organization does this first: they build a cohesive team,” said Massic. “That’s what they got to do, because they know they’re not smart enough to do it. That’s why you have a team. We wouldn’t pick teams if we thought we could just do it all ourselves. We pick a team, and we have to make sure it’s a cohesive team practicing those five behaviors.”
EXTRA CREDIT: Maureen McGonagle at DePaul University breaks down the keys to creating a team environment.
From there, it’s making sure the mission is clear. Massic said it’s asking critical questions, like “Why do we exist?” and “What’s most important right now?”
Once you have a cohesive team and are clear on your mission, your organization is on its way to better health. “That clarity we demand leaders come up with gives seamless and airtight intellectual alignment among the leadership team, which then trickles down to the organization,” said Massic. “So those are the kinds of things I would say: build a cohesive leadership team and create clarity among the team around those questions.”
Look out for more advice from Massic in the 2022 May/June issue of Campus Rec Magazine as he speaks on culture with other experts.