In a recent article by one of my favorite authors, Patrick Lencioni (author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The Advantage among others), he was connecting a question asked on a reality television show to organizational health. Stay with me here, it is worth it!
The reality TV show is Restaurant Impossible and apparently each episode begins with a celebrity chef walking into the target restaurant and begins to notice some things right away. He or she will ask the restaurant owner, “Do you smell that?” Pat goes on to say in his post that this question generally refers to “the carpet or the kitchen or whatever else is emitting the odor. In every case, the owner and the employees claim not to notice it, and they seem to be completely sincere. They’ve been working in the building so long that they don’t even notice the smell anymore, which says something about the need to get fresh perspectives from outsiders from time to time.”
That struck me like a 2×4 to the side of my head! Of course the owner or employees don’t smell the bad odor of poor organizational health – they live it every day and have become used to it. They have become so used to it, they don’t even think of it as a bad odor anymore. After awhile, no one even notices the odor any more. Yet, business results are declining or not meeting plan; employees, especially top performers are leaving, some in-fighting among department heads becomes more noticeable – it is just not a fun place to work anymore.
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? Does this describe a situation(s) that is going on in your workplace? What can you do about it? As it turns out, you can do one of two things:
1. Ignore the bad odor until you no longer notice it (remember, however, your customers will notice it and go elsewhere to have their needs met);
2. Invite in an outsider, a trusted friend or a consultant with a good nose, i.e., someone who has a good diagnostic ability to detect the bad odors of an unhealthy organization.
At Bliss & Associates Inc. we have been helping clients identify the cause of bad odors in their organizations. We help build leadership groups into high performing and high functioning, healthy teams. For the client, it is liberating; for the employees, they love being reengaged in the work and the purpose of the organization – they love coming to work each day, they love telling their friends about how great their workplace is and they invite the best to join them.
How can we help you?