Let’s imagine. You are down with flu, cough and fever. The body is heated, the head feels heavy, eyes are tearing, nose is blocked, taste buds have disappeared, throat is painful and you feel lethargic. To add on to the misery, you feel frustrated and irritated by the constant demands and expectations of your spouse, children and parents perhaps.
Can an organisation go through a similar experience? Now imagine 10% of your staff being unwell. How would they be reacting to clients, customers, suppliers and fellow colleagues? We can imagine the reaction would not be very pleasant. Let’s push our imagination a little further. The body is the office building that is not conducive for work. For example, the air conditioner is down or the aisles are packed with tonnes of boxes of documents or your work desk is cramped with outstanding paperwork. How is your ‘body’ feeling? Not too great I would imagine. What about the head? Imagine the bosses are breathing down your neck with tight deadlines or a crisis has happened and need your immediate attention for the next few days. Your eyes are hurting as the office computer you are using has the screen flickering and is far too bright and you cannot change it. The processes and structures are becoming a block (like a nose block) in the organisation as you need two-three levels of approval just to complete one task. There is just too much red tape. Colleagues are not motivated to support you in your role and perhaps there is too much unhealthy competition amongst teams. Staff have stopped learning and there are more conversations about past successes than what the future can create. I can keep going on like this! Now does this sound like your organisation? This is that ideal ‘unwell’ organisation. Yes, organisations can become sick very much like how people do.
The trick to staying healthy is very much the same way an individual does. How?
- Be observant. You can only know your organisation is unwell if you know how it is and when it is performing well. Notice the changes.
- Be curious. Are you genuinely and positively curious about your colleagues, staff, bosses, vendors, suppliers and clients? Genuine and Positive curiosity promote innovation.
- Be flexible. Guidelines and processes should be there to help achieve outcomes and not be obstacles to it. Flexibility is required as not all clients/customers are the same. People remember organisations who go the extra mile for them and will always return to you for another positive experience.
- Be grateful. Gratefulness helps us to stay grounded. There is so much to be grateful in your organisation than the opposite. Be grateful that toilets are clean, the elevators are working.
- Be positive. Positivity is like a magnet. Anyone or any organisation that gets closer to positive thoughts, actions and emotions is always naturally attractive. People love positive people as we make them feel good about themselves, the organisations and the products or services they get.
- Be active. Get involved and involve others in your work activities. Active participation increases involvement and a sense of belonging to an organisation.
- Be daring. Try new things. Keep your mind stimulated with new ideas, games and activities within the organisation. Suggest new ways of handling challenges, changing processes or innovating products.
- Engage the Whole system. Get everyone involved in the organisation. You could use tools like Appreciate Inquiry which is a great process for doing this as it gets all voices heard regardless of roles, seniority and everyone gets to know everyone…
There are at least 50 more ways of increasing the organisational wellbeing or health if you prefer. The idea is not quantity but quality. Start with the above few suggestions and embrace a whole new healthy organisation. Start NOW.