The Untapped Advantage of Organizational Health

2016 Work as Worship Conference

It's easy to spot an unhealthy organization. They teem with tension—everyone walks on eggshells. In reality, no company wants to be dysfunctional. But how can an organization work its way toward health? In this 32-minute session, Patrick Lencioni explains what an organization needs in order to be healthy, starting with a cohesive leadership team.

Patrick Lencioni (Pat) is the Founder and CEO of The Table Group. He speaks and writes about leadership and organizational health and consults to CEOs and their teams. Pat is the author of 10 best-selling books including The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. He has written for or been featured in numerous publications including Harvard Business Review, Inc., Fortune, Fast Company, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek

Patrick said an organization needs smarts and health in order to be successful. Unfortunately, many leaders try to remedy problematic situations with smarts rather than looking for the sources of unhealthiness. Problems in a company—such as loss of profit or internal tension—often stem from organizational unhealthiness than from a lack of intelligence among the leadership team.

What comes to mind when you think of organizational health? Why?
Log In to Continue

Describe the healthiest organization you've been a part of. What made it healthy? What did you enjoy most about the organization?
Log In to Continue

Patrick pointed out four things a company needs to be healthy.
  • Build a cohesive leadership team.
  • Create organizational clarity.
  • Over-communicate clarity.
  • Put structure in place to reinforce clarity.

Of these four characteristics, which one do you think your team does the best? Where do you see room for growth?
Log In to Continue

Patrick focused on the first of the four qualities of a healthy organization—build a cohesive leadership team. He illustrated his points using a pyramid with each of the following building on each other:
  • Trust
  • Conflict
  • Commitment
  • Accountability
  • Results

Based on these qualities, how is your team doing in terms of health? In what ways are you thriving? How could you improve?
Log In to Continue

Patrick said there are two types of trust: predictive trust and vulnerability-based trust. Vulnerability-based trust moves a team from good to great. Just as Patrick illustrated, one distrusting person can pollute the entire team. Leaders should be aware and willing to act if team members doesn't trust each other.

How do you feel among your team members? Do you feel free to be honest with them? Why or why not?
Log In to Continue

What value to you see in vulnerability? How have you seen vulnerability grow trust?
Log In to Continue

What hesitations do you have about being vulnerable at work? What do you think of "showing your sweat," as Patrick encouraged?
Log In to Continue

Patrick said vulnerability and trust begins with us, the leaders. What might it look like for your team to increase in trust? What could you do to initiate vulnerability?
Log In to Continue

We tend to think conflict indicates unhealthiness. But Patrick pointed out that conflict is actually essential to the cohesiveness of a team. A team that is built on trust creates a healthy environment for conflict—and that type of conflict often produces better results than those of a distrustful team.

What is your attitude toward conflict? How does your approach to conflict affect your work and team dynamic?
Log In to Continue

What might in your organization if you chose to avoid conflict? How might healthy conflict benefit you and your team?
Log In to Continue

What is one thing you could do this week to work towards building a cohesive leadership team?
Log In to Continue

Health in an organization begins with leadership. A leadership team should thrive in trust, handle conflict well, commit to the cause, hold each other accountable, and achieve results. Sit down with your leadership team this week and discuss Patrick's principles from this talk. Evaluate your team—learn what you're doing well and what needs to be improved. Then, take the bold step toward implementing positive change.

For more information on the Work as Worship Conference or how to attend next year's event, visit
Learn more from Patrick in his course Be a Curator of Corporate Culture