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Keys to a healthy organization--Patrick Lencioni

May 3, 2011
by Dennis Grantham, Editor-in-Chief
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While funding—locating it, winning it, and keeping it going is a a top priority for many behavioral health providers , funding runs second on the list of importance for business consultant Patrick Lencioni, who headlined a Monday plenary session at the National Council’s 41st Expo in San Diego.

For Lencioni, funding is (just slightly) less important than what he calls the “ultimate competitive advantage” a sound organization that is free of the poison of internal politics. In his discussion, based in part on his business bestseller, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” Lencioni outlined the elements of “healthy organizations” and contrasted them with the characteristics of unhealthy, unsustainable, and ultimately unsuccessful organizations.

Dysfunctional organizations

Healthy

organizations

Absence of trust

Cohesive leadership—Healthy organizations have leadership teams that “share the same basic answers to the same basic questions,” Lencioni says. If leaders share similar views and priorities, resulting in what he calls “intellectual alignment,” infighting or politics are much less likely at top levels—a culture that is rapidly detected throughout the organization.

Lack of vulnerability

Openness—A willingness, and an acceptance of individuals’ willingness to share their limitations, flaws, and mistakes creates a culture of continuous improvement, that frees all from the blame game and creates a dynamic where limitations can be honestly challenged and new solutions can be constructively developed. “If you have a leader that can’t be vulnerable, you have to leave that person behind,” says Lencioni. “A leader must lead by being vulnerable.”

Lack of commitment

Clarity—Long after a management team is “clear” on organizational goals and objectives, an extensive communication task remains to bring along all layers of the organization. “You’ve got to overcommunicate clarity,” he says, noting a rule of thumb that says “you’ve got to say something seven times before people really hear you.”

Lack of accountability

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Dennis Grantham

Dennis Grantham

@BH_dgrantham

www.behavioral.net