Importance of Organizational Health

June 24, 2022

Many methodologies exist on how to manage change. The consulting industry, the coaching industry,  the organization and development industry, but some of them, are causing more disintegration rather than integration and that's wrong. And that’s why there is resistance to change. We will see very soon why.

I left my university-tenured position at UCLA, 44 years ago, to go to the field, to see whether I can develop a methodology: how to manage change rapidly without destructive conflict. There was nothing in the literature at that time on how to make change enriching, like in a good marriage where at the end of conflict, we love each other more. In a bad marriage, one more conflict and we're ready for a divorce.
What is the difference?

Why is Switzerland so successful and Yugoslavia fell apart? Switzerland should have been a disaster:  French, Germans and Italians in one country. Those nations have been at each other's throats, every world war. And look at Yugoslavia, Bosnians, Croatians, Serbs, and the whole country fell apart. Why did Yugoslavia fall apart and Switzerland is such a successful country? What is the difference?

If all problems stem from disintegration, what is the solution? Integration. Whether you are a country, a company, or a family. It also applies to you personally. You grow, grow, grow, grow your career, and money-wise and what is happening? You might be falling apart.

No company, no country, no person should grow like this. If you grow like this what might happen?  Why? Because you are expanding at the margin and collapsing at the core. Like the space syndrome. You are expanding externally but falling apart internally because the subsystems cannot catch up with the changes you want to have.  

The purpose is how to change without falling apart? You build the technology, you read the market, fine, but it’s your front. Look at the back.  Are we falling apart in the back? Are we falling apart as a family? Are we falling apart as a person? You have to pay attention to the outside and the inside.  In personal life, it’s called balanced life, but it's also applicable to a company. It also applies to a country. Because if you fall apart internally, your energy is being wasted now to take care of it and now you cannot fight the war externally.

We need to chew gum and cross the street at the same time. We must grow externally and at the same time, continuously integrate internally. That is what we need if you want to be successful in the long run. Integration with the external world is success in the short run. Integration of the internal world is what assures you success in the long run. And how do we do that? We need to be healthy. And you are healthy when you are integrated externally and internally.

An integrated company is a healthy company. When we are impressed with someone what do we say? This person has it all together. This family has it all together. This country has it all together. Notice? Integration is a sign of health. Disintegration is a sign of disease. We say this family is falling apart, this company is falling apart, this person is falling apart. 

Economic theory tells us that the purpose of a business organization is to increase the equity of the shareholders. That is true. Because why would the people invest otherwise? But, if you are falling apart in the long run you will not be able to achieve that goal. So what is that first step you have to pay attention to? To keep healthy.  As a company. As a parent. As a human being. Otherwise, there will be no success in the long run. 

Let me tell you a personal story. 

I used to come to visit my mother and tell her about my success,  about a new book, a new important client, a new country.  I  was trying to make her proud of me. She would listen to me, take my hand in her hand and say: “Yes, my son, that is all great but, how is your health?"

The most important factor for sustainable success is being healthy, integrated. Otherwise, you will achieve the goals that you are looking for, but one day you will wonder if it was worth it.  You lost your health. Your family or the company fell apart. So what is the role of a leader, of a manager, or of a parent? It is, first of all, to build and maintain the system to be healthy. How to do that is all in my future blogs and in my books.

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes