By Devon Wayt, Founder, Wayt Consulting Group
In the behavioral health space, it is helpful to think of the need for timeliness from the perspective of a substance use disorder. The earlier in the disease continuum that the substance problem is recognized, treated, and managed, the better the long-term outcome. This same concept holds true for the organizations that treat these individuals. Time is of the essence.
Being willing and able to discern your company’s state of organizational health is paramount to improving workplace culture, communication, follow through, team development, leadership capacity, and of course, profitability. To make measurable change that will move the needle for the business, take steps now to improve its organizational health. The sooner the shortcomings are identified, the sooner positive changes that enhance organizational health can be implemented.
What is Organizational Health?
A company is in business to provide goods or services with the intention of earning a profit. The secret to actually achieving this basic business goal lies in something called organizational health. So what is that?
Organizational health involves operating at optimal performance by engaging a multi-faceted management strategy. The elements of this strategy include:
- Having a clearly defined and articulated vision
- Defining a strategy with benchmarks for achieving that vision
- Having effective leadership to coalesce the efforts of team members in executing the strategy
- Providing the training and tools necessary for the team members to accomplish the stated goals
- Cultivating a workplace culture that is positive and connected
- Developing measurable outcomes that can be evaluated periodically to drive accountability and reward
When even one or two of these components is out of alignment, organization health, and subsequently long-term performance, will suffer.
6 Signs the Time is Right to Improve Organization Health
While being enmeshed in the day-to-day operations of running a behavioral health program, individuals in positions of leadership can find it difficult to step away long enough to take a good long look at the inner workings of the business. It is easy to become blinded to the systemic problems that might be hindering the program’s success when in the thick of it.
After taking an objective look at your company, ask if your organizational health can be improved by considering these 6 questions:
- Is your company’s purpose murky? Every aspect of your company’s operations should be reflecting its stated mission and purpose in some way. If your company’s purpose is not clearly communicated—and lived—everything about the business will suffer. Purpose and passion drive performance and keep team members engaged in the joint mission of the program. If your team seems disconnected and uninspired, it is time to renew and communicate the program’s driving purpose.
- Are your clients satisfied? The client is the end product of a healthy organization. In the days of Yelp and Google reviews, it is pretty easy to get a read on customer satisfaction. If clients are leaving the program feeling less than satisfied it is time to take a look at the entire organization from the ground up. A satisfied client reflects the effectiveness of the program, the overall client experience, and the confidence that they have chosen their treatment center wisely. Do what it takes to improve client satisfaction, starting with improving organizational health.
- Are you executing the strategic plan? It is one thing to brainstorm an amazing strategy for improvement in services and program growth, and quite another to execute the strategy successfully. Yes, a clearly enumerated strategic plan is the first step, but without coordinated teamwork and strong leadership that plan will never see the light of day. Leadership puts the plan in motion, embracing and promoting the agreed upon strategic goals. Without clear communication to the team members, however, there will be little enthusiasm or follow through. Ask yourself if your team is in sync with the plan, or are they seem unengaged or uninspired due to poor communication from leadership.
- Does your team have the tools to succeed? Your product is only as good as your team. A team tasked with providing health services, that has not received adequate training or the tools needed to deliver excellence, is being set up to fail. Ask if your team members at all levels are receiving timely training through workshops, seminars, conferences, or literature. Do they have the ongoing support of management? Are they provided with needed supplies? Are the I.T. systems adequate? Review the needs of your team members and ask yourself if they are being prepared for success or set up for failure.
- Is the workplace culture healthy? Take the temperature of your company’s culture. A toxic or negative workplace culture bleeds into every other facet of the business. Assess your culture: Do employees feel valued? Are conflicts managed in a fair and timely manner? Does the work environment encourage creativity and employee input? Does gossip and drama permeate? Do team members feel they can trust leadership? Take a good hard look at your company culture and purge the negativity that threatens to undermine all other efforts to succeed.
- Are you meeting revenue targets? The bottom line is… well, the bottom line. Providing mental health or addiction recovery services is a valuable profession, but it does need to be a bit more than a calling. Unless revenue can keep up with or exceed costs, there will be no program. Organizational health must include a deep dive into financial health. Consider some ways to incentivize the team and measure performance outcomes, as motivated employees can fuel productivity and improve profitability.
Identifying the internal challenges in your organization is only the starting point. Building and nurturing organizational health by implementing meaningful adjustments will help propel your business to the best version of itself. Maximize long-term performance and excellence by achieving optimal organizational health.
About the Author
Devon Wayt is the founder and chief executive officer of Wayt Consulting Group. With over 17 years experience operating behavioral health treatment and recovery organizations, Devon Wayt has acquired expertise in quality and compliance, operations, and change management. He believes that everyone can be a leader, but leadership would not exist without ethical utilities such as honesty, authenticity, transparency, integrity, a commitment to self-respect, and leading by example.