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Why Organizational Health is Critical

#eqfit #organizationalhealth Aug 11, 2023

"Why organizational health trumps everything else in business." Patrick Lencioni

This quote come out of his book called, "The Advantage". If you have not read it, I highly recommend that you do. There are truths in this book that keys to opening doors of engagement, productivity, profitability, good leadership, and how to enhance organizational health.

Organizational Health & Vitality

So what is organizational health and vitality? It is the fitness and energy of an organization. Just like the human body, each organization has multiple parts. If one part of the body is not healthy, it impacts the entire body. When you see world class athletes perform, you are seeing a body that is healthy, vital, and in harmony. Each part of the body is healthy (including the mind), which then generates vitality (energy) that can be used for the effort. In athletes, there is also a level of training and equipping that they have experienced that adds to their effectiveness.

Study after study shows that the athletes that win the most have something in common. Their mindset is strong, resilient, agile, and focused. The body can be in excellent health but if the mindset is not right, the athlete will never perform at their best. This includes teams and organizations. You can have the best people with the greatest talent, but if the organizational health and vitality are poor, you are simply wasting that talent.

What limits organizational health and vitality?

There are many factors that can negatively impact organizational health and vitality:

  • Politics
  • Lack of trust
  • Lack of investing in developing people
  • Poor leadership
  • Toxic people
  • Poor culture
  • Lack of autonomy
  • Uncertainty around purpose and direction
  • Fixed mindsets
  • Low engagement
  • Lack of feedback

If you look at this list and compare it to organizations that you know, I am sure you will find some of these things present in that organization. While nothing is perfect, we can certainly enhance organizational health and vitality by tackling some of these key elements and improving them.

Where to start

The question is where do we start? The best way is to find a good organizational survey/assessment. Proceed with caution on this as not all organizational climate surveys/assessments are created equal. Here are key elements to look for to get the best insights and path forward:

  • There should be specific measures of key drivers of success, not just a bunch of questions that provide data.
  • There needs to be key outcome measures that are applicable to the organization meeting their strategic goals.
  • Yes, there should be a measure of engagement. However, it should be a measure that comes with a clear direction in how to improve engagement levels.
  • The data that you get should be actionable data. Data that can be turned into KPI's and have specific steps to develop organizational competence to achieve those KPI's.
  • There should be a place for people to make comments and share ideas. This is high value input.

These are key elements in a good organizational survey/assessment. But it does not stop there:

  • The tool should have the ability to be customized with questions specific to the organization.
  • There should be an easy way to select specific demographics and run multiple reports based on the demographics selected. This is critical because generational differences need to be taken into account.

With a tool like this you have a great start to gathering good data that provides real insights...and more importantly, direction on how to improve areas critical to organizational health and vitality, which leads to success.

Organizational Vital Signs

The tool I use for this is called Organizational Vital Signs by Six Seconds. It has all of the above plus excellent validation and reliability. Validation is ensuring the tool is measuring what it is intended to measure. Reliability is being able to repeat results within a specific range consistently.


A couple of years ago I was asked to do an Organizational Vital Signs assessment for a large organization. At the time they had 22,000 employees. The assessment participants were approximately 250 managers and leaders around the world. This included many different divisions. We were able to customize the assessment in many ways. While I cannot share the details due to confidentiality, I can share the outcomes. Here is what this client was able to learn and put in place:

  • The reasons behind low engagement in specific divisions
  • 3 key leadership gaps that were critical to resolve
  • How to create a retention plan for keeping their talent instead of constant turnover
  • Specific steps to enhance organizational health and vitality
  • Key concerns by generation (age related)
  • Define the key roadblocks to growth and increased success

These are just a few of the key findings. From these we were able to create a plan to impact organizational health and vitality across the organization. This included creating employee led focus groups charged with specific initiatives.

Value realized

The ROI on this project is still being counted years later.

What is the value to organizations to "take their vital signs?"

  1. Good data leads to better insight and better decisions. Too many organizations either do not do this or use some type of survey/assessment that is almost impossible to turn into action steps.
  2. Understanding an organization's "employer brand" is critical to attracting good talent. This is a great way to learn what an organization's employer brand truly is, and then do something about it.
  3. Engaged employees will provide 2-4x the productivity of a non-engaged employee. Organizations that want to compete in today's marketplace need as many engaged employees as possible. A tool that provides more than an engagement measure, one with real and practical steps that can be taken to enhance engagement, is what is needed to create a competitive advantage through people.
  4. Using an EQ (emotional intelligence) infused organizational survey/assessment adds a deeper level of insight and understanding beyond the standard climate surveys that simply provide categories of data based on normalized questions. EQ is 2-4 times more predictive of success than IQ or other measures. Makes sense that an EQ infused survey/assessment would provide greater value.

I get the question all the time about, "how big do we have to be to have an organizational survey/assessment be valuable to us?" The answer is more about how important it is to gain insight and clarity than how many people an organization has. I would say 25 people would be a good starting point. If an organization has less than that, then there is another tools called the TVS (Team Vital Signs by Six Seconds) that would serve the same purpose.

Organizational health and vitality matter...a lot! Measure what matters and do it with a tool that will create the right path forward.


For more, check out our other resources:

EQFIT® YouTube Channel


EQFIT® Podcast

 Copyright © 2023 EQFIT® - Author: Steven Goodner. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact: [email protected].

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