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You Want a Healthy Organization, But You’re Not the CEO

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Your organization isn’t embracing the idea of organizational health—in fact it’s not even interested in it. Since you’re not the CEO or the owner, you think you can’t do anything about it. Except, you can!

Here’s the definition of what a healthy organization looks like:

A company with minimal politics, minimal confusion, high levels of morale, high productivity, and low turnover among your best performing people.

This is the organization where we all want to work. Maybe you, like most of us, aren’t a CEO and aren’t in charge of the organization, but you do have a small department for which you are responsible–and you would like it to fit the definition of a healthy organization. But what can you do?

CEO at Work

© Flickr user Robert Scoble

There are many options available, but here are two ways you can impact the health of your organization. And no, it doesn’t matter where you fall on the org chart.

In our personal and professional life, we spend so much time and energy reacting to or worrying about conditions over which we have little or no control. The late Stephen Covey calls this the Circle of Concern. We get angry about and blame other people, departments, the economy, the weather, and even our customers. In short, we turn to things we don’t and can’t influence and shake our fists with no effect.

Think about what would happen if you focus YOUR time and energy instead on what Covey calls your Circle of Influence. Those are the elements of your world that you can actually impact. What if you stopped trying to control everything in your organization that you’re concerned about?

What part of the organization do you have direct influence over? The department you lead? The projects you manage? The work you have with your own colleagues? That’s what you focus on.

Spend your time and energy working on minimal politics, minimal confusion, high levels of morale, high productivity, and low turnover among your performing people in your own area. Make sure you have a healthy department. If you’re not the boss, act like a leader. If you don’t hire people, at least make them feel good by being supportive. Do good work and make sure people see that good work matters.

Employees in a Meeting

© Flickr user Jim Larrison

Technique one is about making your own domain better. But there’s something else you can do: Realize that leaders of the organization need someone to tell them the kind truth about how they can make the company better. Being honest is rare these days, and someone who speaks up can have a profound impact.

Most leaders are looking for people who will tell them the truth, but kindly. When you go to your management and you humbly give them ideas on what they do to improve the organization, you have nothing to lose.

If they decide they aren’t interested in a healthy organization, that’s something you need to know about. Because then you have a better understanding of what’s going on and you can think about how long you want to be in that organization.

And if they like your ideas (or at least your effort to step forward) that’s a good sign! It means that you’re well on your way to leadership roles yourself. It shows that the company cares about improvement more than it does about status.

In summary, don’t get discouraged when you’re not in charge of the organization and feel that you can’t make a difference. By focusing on your own department or speaking upward with kind truth, you can have more impact than you think.

But no matter what, you have to act. Make it happen!

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Cindy Allen-Stuckey

Cindy Allen-Stuckey

Cindy Allen-Stuckey, CEO and founder of Making Performance Matter, collaborates with organizations to convert their strategy into action. She takes global organizations to the next level by developing customized "people strategies" that bring their business strategy to life and enabling them to optimally execute it.
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