Many leaders think of healthy organizational change in terms of improving company culture and boosting employee engagement. While culture and engagement are important, an organization's health is much more than that, and it's crucial to success. McKinsey defines organizational health as being unified in purpose, delivering with efficiency, and remaining relevant through innovation. Better health equals better performance, as I've learned while building Firebrand Group over the last few years: there is a direct correlation between our organizational health and how profitable we've been able to become.

Your team is only effective when it can rally around your company's goals and be fluid enough to adapt to new challenges as they arise. A winning team will work toward the shared goal of company health, but it's your opportunity as a leader to fashion the team that will enable your organization to function the best it can. This means making your entire organization healthier through smarter staffing, fair benefits, and a shared mission.

1. Be choosy about your team.

Building a dream team is about quality, not quantity, and every employee on the team should be committed to the company's mission. Besides hiring the right people, this also includes firing the wrong ones. No matter the size of your company or brand, holding on to an underperformer will consistently drag your team down.

That drag amounts to more than just that individual's underperformance. One unmotivated employee can deplete the motivation and morale of other team members, which harms productivity. To prevent such an employee from throwing your team off track, be highly selective about those you hire and retain, and don't be afraid to let go of any negative forces on the team.

2. Support the heck out of your teammates.

Your team of motivated and dedicated professionals devotes the majority of their waking hours to advancing your goals, so it's imperative that you supply the benefits that'll make their lives the best they can be. From team-building activities to workplace wellness programs, employers should take an active approach to improving their employees' health.

Healthy lifestyle choices lead to more productivity at work, and that requires focusing on mental health wellness just as much as physical fitness. Zeynep Ilgaz, founder of Confirm Biosciences, credits her company's employee assistance program as an important factor in its success. She cites round-the-clock access to professional help as vital to a mental health policy. Whether your employees are worried about work, family drama, or stressful life events, you want them to find support from an unbiased professional. It's also important to eliminate the stigma of mental health issues by encouraging employees to take advantage of the programs available to them.

3. Help everyone see the big picture.

McKinsey's Organizational Health Index ranks a shared vision and strategic clarity as the biggest improvers of organizational health. Employees want to know both how they are contributing to the corporate mission and what the company's larger goals are. What's even more engaging is when employees can rally around a company's charitable initiatives.

For example, the employees at glassybaby, a maker of handblown glass votives and drinkers, feel passionate about their philanthropic mission of giving back 10 percent of all revenue. Founder Lee Rhodes says creating and selling something that's raised more than $8.3 million for charities that help people, animals, and the planet becomes an addictive feeling -- not just because of the company's success, but also because her team is "protecting something that isn't just a business."

Leaders start to get it right when they ask how they can improve their organization's health. However, they can miss the mark by not focusing enough on building and maintaining the quality of their teams. Focus on that first, and your team can more effectively execute all of your organization's goals.

Published on: Jul 26, 2018