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A Healthy Organization





I have been doing a lot of work lately with organizations to assess their culture so that we can determine mentor readiness. I had posted this article back in 2014 and it is very relevant to what I am seeing taking place in a lot of organizations today.


A healthy organization! What does that actually mean? How do you determine that you have created a healthy organization or better yet how do we measure that? My best friend and advisor fired those questions at me when we last met. If you recall he was responsible for our last article!

So what is the definition of Organizational health?  I read an article in the McKinsey Quarterly that I think best provides the answer to that question.  “Organizational health is the ability of your organization to align, execute, and renew itself faster than your competitors can and is just as important as focusing on the traditional drivers of business performance. Organizational health is about adapting to the present and shaping the future faster and better than the competition. Healthy organizations don’t merely learn to adjust themselves to their current context or to challenges that lie just ahead; they create a capacity to learn and keep changing over time. This, we believe, is where ultimate competitive advantage lies.”**

We all know, or at least we should know that our most important – our most valued assets in our organization are our people. If you don’t believe that then look around at what some of the most successful organizations do in order to stay ahead of the competition. They value their employees and put into place a number of different things that are most definitely focused on that valued asset.

A healthy organization creates healthy outcomes for its people – improved health and well-being, and for the organization – reduced costs and improved performance. * These healthy outcomes depend on whether:

  • the business values its employees
  • safety comes first
  • jobs are challenging
  • employees have control over work load and work pace
  • employees have a say in workplace decisions
  • relationships are based on trust, respect, and fairness
  • employees have adequate resources to do their job
  • supervisors support employees
  • employees have opportunities for training and development
  • communication is two-way and open
  • employees are recognized for their contributions
  • pay and benefits provide an adequate and secure living standard

When I look at this list I see a healthy organization as one that has a solid mentoring movement in place. When you take the time to embrace the power of mentoring and create a culture that is based on mentoring you will have in place a healthy organization.  Effective mentoring demonstrates the organization’s commitment to its employees and to the creation of a continuous learning and development environment. Safety is a priority at all times. Employees are challenged through meaningful job assignments and their input is sought in a two-way open communication style that engages, empowers and creates accountability. Relationships become the foundation for continued success within the organization and those relationships are based on trust and respect for each other. All of these can be attained through the “power of mentoring”.

The thing to remember though is that the commitment to mentoring must be organizational wide – from the top down. It requires an understanding of what we want to accomplish by implementing a mentoring program but more importantly to create a mentoring culture wherein a mentoring program can survive. We want to make sure that everyone understands the expectations of the two parties in a mentoring relationship through proper training. The business value of mentoring is well documented – we just need to make sure that we do our part to realize the true value.

When your organization stands in front of its organizational mirror what does it see? Do you see an organization that is struggling with lost productivity and negativity? Do you have a challenge with recruiting good talent and then retaining them? If you were to ask someone on the street to describe your organization what would they say?

If your organization is not happy with the image that it sees when it stands in front of its mirror then it is time to act and make those changes. Waiting to the 11th hour to do something may be too late. You need to create that learning and development environment through the implementation of a mentoring culture and mentor program. You do need to embrace the “gift of mentoring”. After all, “can you afford not to.”


  1. * Graham Lowe Group Inc. – http://creatinghealthyorganizations.ca/index.php