For Glory Or Health? The Importance Of Looking At Your Organization’s Well-Being – Forbes

Posted: September 18, 2019 at 5:43 am


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In a recent visit to the doctor, I noticed the body mass index chart on the wall with color-coded ranges of healthy and unhealthy weights for any given height. It struck me as a metaphor for organizational health. Our actions in either domain might be intentional or mindless based on our priorities and resources at a given time. In both body weight and company revenues, a metric sought for glory, not health, could drive dangerous behaviors. In both, that motivation can appear as health-focused, so it remains hidden below the surface.

A Pattern Of Behavior, Not A Single Act

While there are various contexts in which our choices are constrained or otherwise influenced, our results in personal physical health and in organizational health are largely a function of the daily behaviors of that bodys leader. Apart from some extreme exceptions, one is typically not labeled a fantastic leader based on a single stellar act. Rather, a great leader tends to exhibit a pattern of mostly effective behaviors over time. Similarly, one is not typically called a toxic leader following a single horrific bad decision, but after a pattern of destructive behaviors over time.

For body weight, any number on the scale represents a series of acts over time of consumption and exercise. There are many combinations of behaviors that will yield a metric that is placed in the healthy zone for both body weight and for good leadership. A single bad choice doesnt plunge someone into the unhealthy zone. Nor does one great choice ensure someone stays in the healthy zone. Many people have slips in judgment and self-control in their diet and exercise routine, just as leaders have slips in decisions and interactions with their team members.

Imperfect Metric

Neither in physical nor organizational health does a single metric give a full picture of wellness. As the Harvard Business Review reported, A company can easily lose sight of its strategy and instead focus strictly on the metrics that are meant to represent it. A metric could have been achieved in unhealthy ways, which is more likely the case with individuals who or cultures that place a significant incentive on a metric or value the appearance of success more than true wellness.

Looking at a companys Glassdoor score, for example, might appear to represent that companys employee confidence and satisfaction. However, if bright-eyed, new employees are encouraged to post in their early days of glee and unfavorable posts are removed or simply never posted, the score hardly represents true health. Similarly, a target weight alone, based on height, doesnt give the full picture of health.

What Used To Work Doesnt Anymore

In leadership and in physical wellness, some people manage to achieve decent results even if they are not particularly intentional in their choices. Over time, though, new conditions and challenges emerge. Actions that previously led to metrics in the healthy zone might no longer work. In leadership, there might be new demands by the board, the market or employees. As bodies age, your metabolism changes, allergies might develop or illnesses could be contracted.

What You Can Do With This New Metaphor To Better Yourself

One of the great gifts of leadership coaching is witnessing the beauty of humanity in breakthroughs. It is easier to offer grace to yourself and compassion for others when you understand no one is perfect, everyone has fears and everyone wants connection. Acknowledge (but dont dwell on) your missteps in the wellness of every facet of your life.

Everyone makes mistakes in personal health and in leadership. It's what you do in the aftermath of a slip-up that determines whether you are destined for a healthy or unhealthy zone. Dont pretend the slips didnt happen, justify to yourself or others why they did, or wallow in shame about your poor choices.

Own what happened and its impact. Apologize to affected parties even if that someone is you. Accept your humanity. You are not perfect, but hopefully, you can learn. Increase self-awareness about the situations or people who tend to trip you into a lesser version of yourself. Get support from a leadership coach, mentor, boss or trusted peer to think through how to own and make amends for damaging behaviors. Work to prepare yourself to better handle future potential situations.

Dont be seduced by vanity metrics. Carefully choose and use a collection of metrics that paint a holistic picture of health for both your body and the goodness of your organization. Being thoughtful, intentional and realistic can help you positively affect change.

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For Glory Or Health? The Importance Of Looking At Your Organization's Well-Being - Forbes

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September 18th, 2019 at 5:43 am

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