How to Create Organizational Vitality and Be a Place Where People Love Coming to Work
People struggle and sink when environments feel like death.
7 signs your organization is sick:
- Low performers are protected. Anyone who isn’t growing, needs to go. Coach them up or out.
- Secrets saturate the environment.
- Gossip is endorsed, even honored.
- CYA is SOP. (Cover Your *ss is Standard Operating Procedure.)
- Destructive high-performers get ahead.
- Playing politics, not results, is enough to earn promotion. The good ole boy’s club is filled with self-protective gatekeepers who love being served by brown nosers.
- People development is an inconvenience, not a commitment.
7 steps to vitality:
Successful leaders focus on building vigorous vibrant organizations.
Everything is easier when positive energy abounds.
- Define what vibrancy means for your organization. For example:
- Real conversations are normal. Dancing with elephants is an art form.
- Poor performance is brought up quickly.
- Team members know each other’s goals, passions, strengths and weaknesses.
- Results and relationships matter.
- Leaders give help as much as they seek it.
- Transparency is expected and honored. Most meetings are recorded and posted on the company intranet for anyone to see or hear.
- Teams look to the future, more than the past.
- “How can we make this better?” is part of organizational language.
- Everything you expect from others, you’re already giving to them.
- Create a vibrancy scale. Determine where you are.
- Define better.
- Collaboratively define behaviors that contribute to vitality.
- Collaboratively define behaviors that drain vitality.
- Pursue vitality. Vitality may be a byproduct, but it isn’t an accident.
- Evaluate progress.
- Call out and correct energy sinks. Negative environments are built by tolerance, not intent.
- Honor those who get it.
- Replace poor performers and resistors.
Bonus: When energy goes down, bring it up.
How might leaders build vibrant organizations?
What has been true of leaders and organizations where you have seen vitality?
Agree with all of this, and they are good reminders. One observation is that depending on the overall corporate bureaucracy, it can be difficult to “coach out” low performers. It’s not impossible, but certainly painful and time consuming.
Thanks Gary. Yes, bureaucracy is an issue. The more there is, the less energy.
I’m glad you mention that coaching out is painful and time consuming. One reason to go through it is to demonstrate commitment to people. I think it’s a good message that reflects important values.
But, you are right. It’s not easy.
Dan, interesting that you bring up SOPs! Suggestions for driving vitality when you are surrounded by SOPs that provide absolute, proscribed limits on what you can do?
Loved this point: “Negative environments are are result of tolerance not intent.” That is so true…. when we ignore warning signs of health concerns in our own bodies it becomes a much bigger deal than if we would have acted on it when the symptoms first appeared…. culture/environment is no different. Yet too often we are reluctant to act or hope it goes away by itself. By giving the negativity a “pass” we have unintentionally and effectively endorsed it.
High energy gardens need timely de-weeding by alert gardeners!
Awesome post; however, I am hesitant to share with my team members for fear they might think I am insinuating something about them.