Pat Lencioni speaks in his latest book, The Advantage, at length about why companies, if they want to succeed, having to be Smart and Healthy at the same time. He defines Smart as being an expert in your business. Understanding your market, how to serve it and being intimately familiar with your costumers, products, services and competitive landscape. If you run a brewery, than you better know how to craft great beers and get them into the hands of the brew crowd.
What is a Healthy Business
Being Healthy is something altogether different and no, it has nothing to do with crafting healthy brews. A company is healthy to the extent that it has a highly functional executive team, where team members trust each other, communicate openly and refrain from politicking. Trust in this context means that executives are willing to be vulnerable in front of each other and admit their mistakes, so that the team can come to their rescue optimizing outcomes for the business.
In an atmosphere of trust, issues are brought to the surface quickly and team members voice their unbridled opinions to help the team find fast and effective solutions, leveraging the brain trust of the whole company. It is easy to see that a spirit of openness and constructive debate will help the team get to the bottom of problems much faster and with less long term damage, than in an “every-man-for-himself” environment.
Even more interesting, according to Lencioni, is that most companies tend to focus their improvement efforts on the Smart side of the “balance sheet” and neglect the Healthy side. The biggest reason may be, that business leaders understand the challenges of their industry and their business much more deeply than the intricacies of building a cohesive unit of their executives. Dealing with personalities and, God forbid, “touchy-feely” subjects can also be awkward and the results hard to measure.
As a result of this bias, for most companies only marginal improvements are available in the Smart Department, while all the low hanging fruits are ripening in the Healthy Department.
We EOS Implementers are a lazy breed, preferring to harvest ripe, low hanging fruits rather than the green ones from the top of the tree. Since we are only spending 5-7 days a year with a client, we want to make sure that we generate a lot of value fast, which means we cannot shy away from the Healthy side of things. We actually spend most of our time making sure the team has complete clarity of functions, roles, priorities and targets and its members are engaging each other, identifying and solving issues and hitting activity targets so that the business tracks its projected numbers.
So if you are like most CEOs who hate dealing with health issues, just give an EOS Implementer a call and we come to your rescue and help to harvest your low hanging fruit basket.