Tag Archives for " organisational health "

The health of your organisation and trust

The health of your organisation and trust are intrinsically linked.

Below are ten steps to building trust in your organisation to improve your organisational health.

  1. Talk about fear and trust as general topics and the specifics.
  2. Move toward triumphs and risks and away from shaming and blaming.
  3. Be vulnerable as a leader. You made a mistake, so talk about it. Share it.
  4. Reduce the power differentials in your organisation.
  5. When the executive team joins the employees ensure they are well practised in the art of listening.
  6. Ensure that relationship building is given a high priority. Go beyond talking in the lunchroom.
  7. Highlight and acknowledge the demonstration of personal leadership.
  8. Communication needs to be filtered through a human and friendly tone. Get rid of the management jargon.
  9. Seek feedback from everyone in the organisation – you employ people to use their brains.
  10. Being honest is vital – particularly during challenging times.

Build the trust… Work on organisational health.

To read our other articles on organisational health, click here.

Putting the Focus on Organisational Health

A process for shining the spotlight on Organisational Health

What I heard…

On Wednesday I spent the day in the company of 100 terrific women and addressed the assembled group about culture and change. It seemed to connect well with and put a focus on organisational health. It was wonderful to hear the thoughts of the great speakers who preceded the panel session and the women who addressed the room to conclude the day.

As I thought through the messages and questions I heard and responded to, I applied the organisational health filter as I reflected after the event.

My first understanding was how the personal becomes organisational.

The women who spoke provided key messages about:

  • knowing who you are
  • understanding your purpose
  • being brave and stepping into the leadership space you can see.

They provided valuable encouragement to have a go, to stand-up and to feel the fear. Because you can see the leadership needed it therefore fits you and your leadership size and capacity.

We all talked about how to champion change.

The conversation also stretched to the workplace and:

  • what is happening for women, and of course, by default everyone
  • issues that need to be addressed
  • how do you instigate change?

Well, you could call a party room (oops did I actually say that? I meant workplace) meeting and ensure issues are discussed.

Or...you could do the thinking and get your ideas well sorted. Start thinking through your approach to ensure the change that must happen actually occurs.

The other thing I noticed during Wednesday’s session was how stories and connecting with people’s heart and finding out about their why assists you in getting your opinions heard. I also observed that when I put the solutions into the room people were writing and follow-up conversations affirmed that hearing some solutions was really useful.


So, the solutions for understanding your organisation and its health. It starts with questions:

  • How can an organisation understand its health?
  • Do you have a framework?
  • Do you have a process?
  • Is there a strong culture of trust and openness?

The process

We have developed an initial thinking process template for an internal organisational health activity.

Before you launch into the process I would counsel you to consider the first step and a leadership task. Assess one of the key organisational atmospherics. Assess whether there is an embedded sense of trust and openness?  This needs to be the first step because leading your organisation through an organisational health process will not necessarily provide a strong action agenda if the team/tribe/people have a low level of trust/openness.

How do you develop trust quickly?

Why would you ask that? You can but think about why you are wanting to do that...

The more important question is how can I ensure we have the internally robust atmosphere of trust.

Now that you have sorted that, and you have run an eye over the level of openness and trust, you can safely embark on reviewing the organisational health from a broader perspective.  Our template may assist you.

We, of course, are happy to develop a customised process for your team. And now you will know what our first question will be; trust and openness – how are you tracking?

Read our other blogs on organisational health here.

Why is Organisational Health Important

You may be wondering why organisational health is important.

From a personal perspective

I have been investigating organisations (for years), individuals who make up these organisations and now organisational health. I respond to the concept of organisational health from the personal perspective, with a leadership overlay. That is, why do I do this? It's because my mantra has always been “it starts with me (you) and leadership is for everyone and all the time”.

Organisational health and the individual

Our recent Alumni newsletter explored the idea of organisations and organisational health, but let’s start with you and me.

What is the link from individual to organisational health?

And how can the individual impact positively on organisational health?


Many months ago I was having a mentoring conversation with one of Affectus’ mentees. We were talking about how he felt at work and how he felt about work.

The conversation went included questions like:

  • How do you know that “work” listened to you?
  • Did they listen to you?
  • What will assist you in getting to the next stage in your process of leading on this matter?
  • Has this changed your feelings towards your workplace?

The conversation the mentoring session prior to this had been:

  • Why are you working for them?
  • Do your values align with your workplace values?

Conversation value

Both these mentoring sessions were valuable to the mentee and me. Why? Because it assisted in understanding more about the impact of the individual on organisational health and vice versa.

The value of the conversation was that the mentee during the first conversation was clear that either he had missed the goals, vision and values of the organisation or that there were none.

Understanding these options would have assisted him to be less reactive about his feelings about the workplace. As well as being more proactive and display personal leadership. And that would then have a positive impact on the organisation and organisational health.


The first conversation allowed him to step back into the workplace and ask some questions of his line-manager about goals, vision and value. Leadership conversations then ensued about organisational communication and autonomy.

This simple “what are we all about and what are we achieving” brought forth important thinking and discussions. Those discussions allowed my mentee to feel significantly more connected to the workplace and the goals. Why? Because the goals were there and the vision was there; the communication just hadn’t been.

Further down the path, it allowed the mentee then to think through:

  • What is my value?
  • Does the workplace fully understand the value I bring to the business?

It was clear that his value was not being demonstrated to the organisation. The autonomy and goal-kicking he was doing were not well observed. His leadership allowed him to bring this to the attention of the managers.

At Affectus, we consider organisational health very important. We understand the impact it has on the organisation and the individual. And we also know that the leadership required to undertake these conversations is considerable.

We encourage you to think about how healthy is your organisation? And what can you do to improve the current state?

We can all bring organisational health onto the agenda.

What is organisational health?

Organisational health, as defined by www.organizationalhealth.com, is an “organization’s ability to function effectively, to cope adequately, to change appropriately, and to grow from within.”

There is some sense that organisational health is comprised of a number of areas. Some suggest there are many areas that Affectus deals with but let’s have a look at a few:

  • Goals. The organisation having a goal, a vision and for everyone to buy into that goal or vision.
  • Communication. Clear channels and clear messages – up, down and across with and from everyone.
  • Power. To understand power and equalising (or evening out) the power within an organisation structure.
  • Cohesion. People within the organisation understanding where they fit in and how to influence the organisational direction and outcomes.
  • Edge of Chaos. The flexibility in the organisation to ensure people are working on the edge of chaos to ensure new concepts are in circulation.
  • Team. A state of security and satisfaction for the people who are part of the organisation.
  • Autonomy. Organisational understanding of and personal opportunity for autonomy.
  • Resilience. A high tolerance for coping with stress, and a leadership responsibility to support and oversee the personal resilience of people connected to the organisation.

Why is it important?

When Affectus considers the above areas we understand again the importance of our work in the leadership space. However, it is really valuable to consider why it is important to review and lead in the area of organisational health.

We have collected many anecdotes over many years that illustrate organisations who take organisational health seriously. Also, unfortunately, those who haven’t. We are not sure about the direct connection with financial benefits. However, it goes without saying that in our years we see organisations who consider these aspects have more engaged and rewarded people.

A couple of examples.

About four years ago Affectus was invited to be part of a business review. We attended as thought leaders to assist the organisation move beyond their current market position. It was a fascinating day asking “why” “what else” “really?” “how about this left field idea?”. However, as we drove away, our debrief and reflective conversation concepts where:

  • That team is clear about its purpose: all levels of the business were sitting in the room and they know where they are heading.
  • They are all clear about each of their roles: the employees, contractors, and Board all know what they are there for.
  • Who were the supervisors in the room: it was hard to identify who was more important as nearly everyone spoke candidly.
  • They have clearly been through challenging times but are also not afraid to go to the edge of chaos and see what else is out there.

Outcome: At the time the company was at the leading edge of the industry. Currently, they are a long way ahead of the pack.

At precisely the same time and by coincidence, Affectus began mentoring a couple of employees within another organisation in a different industry. Both mentees self-identified as middle-level supervisors.

We heard stories that concerned us for the future of the business. Therefore, key areas we encouraged the mentees to action were:

  • Discover the vision/purpose/why of the organisation. Then integrate their individual work.
  • More fully understand the flow of communication within the organisation. Attempt to relieve the “roadblocks” to ensure more effective decision-making and action.
  • Discuss the senior management understanding of autonomy and team. Get a sense of how to build both these areas for the overall building of workforce resilience.

Outcome: This business, as highly regarded as they were, lost key and “edge of chaos” staff. One staff member exited the businesses and specifically mentioned the need for the business to think through autonomy, communication and team. It is also clear that this organisation has disengaged with leadership skilling of staff.

What can you do to influence organisational health?

It is important to understand how valuable it is to review organisational health. In early 2019 Affectus will be developing an organisational health program. This program will provide further opportunity to get a better handle on your organisational health.

If you are reading this and wondering what steps can I take now to get a better handle on my organisation's health we encourage you to review the workshops you have attended. We are sure, through our evaluation processes, that our workshops and programs have a very positive impact. Sometimes the knowledge and information we provide need to be looked at again.

If you have attended an Exploring Your Why Workshop or a Chaos workshop, relook at your thinking. Consider how can this be relevant to my organisation. Plus, what action can I take to assist “us” regarding this area of organisational health?

If you have attended a 3 or 9-day program with us we encourage you to go back and look at the areas of:

  • communication
  • goal setting
  • power
  • teams

and find ways to action greater change in the organisations you are part of.

Stay tuned and get involved in our single workshops. They may spark great organisational health. And as mentioned above we will be developing an organisational health concept in 2019.