Measuring Your Organization’s Health

I am currently reading Patrick Lencioni’s newest book, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business and, as I have done when reading any of his books, I find myself saying “I knew that.”  But, as you know, knowing and doing are not the same. Lencioni has a real gift for telling us things we already know, but putting them down in a way that makes them usable and reachable.  This book is no exception.

If you’ve read any of Lencion’s books, you know that one of his driving messages centers around the importance of leaders creating clarity and alignment about what their organization is and does.

“Leaders simply cannot inspire, inform, motivate, market, and position their companies in the context of a T-shirt or lucite tschotske.  Clarity requires a much more rigorous and unpretentious approach.”  Patrick Lencioni

Six critical question emerge from the book as the tool needed to get employees focused on the same thing.  And, according to Lencioni, “failure to achieve alignment around any one of them can prevent an organization from attaining the level of clarity necessary to become healthy.”  The six questions are:

  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?

If this sounds familiar, you might be thinking of something Peter F. Drucker said almost twenty years earlier that became the heart of the book, The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization.

  1. What is Our Mission?
  2. Who Is Our Customer?
  3. What Does the Customer Value?
  4. What Are Our Results?
  5. What Is Our Plan?

These tools are not meant to assess your programs or individual performance.  These tools are meant to assess the health of your organization as a whole, and isn’t that really the most important thing to measure?