Late in August, the folks of Daxko joined together in our Garage to listen to Brian Jones present on why organizational health is the last competitive advantage that has remained underutilized. Brian Jones is a Principle Consultant of The Table Group, a company dedicated to helping other company’s teams work together more seamlessly. As Brian explained, they believe that the most important piece of technology at a company is the table at which they meet.
As Brian explained it, there are many requirements for organizational success, that can be split into two categories:
‘Smart’ requirements deal primarily with what many would consider more traditionally business aspects of an organization: strategy, marketing, the technology, finance. These are easier to quantify and harder to mess up, as, traditionally, this is what all companies will focus on.
‘Healthy’ requirements are, conversely, easier to mess up and harder to quantify. These include minimal politics, minimal confusion, having a high morale and high productivity in your team members, as well as having low turnover. Most organizations focus on the ‘business’ requirements while neglecting these health requirements, to the detriment of their company.
Brian went on to explain that there is a tough spot for employers to be in due to how employees can behave. Essentially, an employee either lives our core values (or not) and that same employee will either get results, or not. This creates four types of employees:
- Those who live our core values and get results
- Those who live our core values without getting results
- Those who do not live our values yet still get results
- Those who neither live our values nor get results
Three of these four team member types have clear courses of action concerning how the leadership should approach them. For those that live our values and get results, you obviously want to promote this behavior, so you recognize, reward, promote these team members. Likewise, those who have our values while not receiving results, you want to hold on to: you retrain or reassign these individuals to where their skills are more helpful. And of course, those team members who neither share our values nor perform well, they likely won’t be team members for long.
The last type Brian called the ‘Brilliant Jerk,’ someone who has bad behavior but is a high performer. What do you do with this team member? As was pointed out in the session, ‘the norm is defined by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.’ If core values are what an organization values to its core (tautology here to drive the point that the organization should value that above all else), then the Brilliant Jerk must be either coached to hold those values or, unfortunately, let go.
Brian’s talk covered a dozen more interesting talking points; if I were to attempt to write them here, I would not only do a disservice to his comical and engaging speaking style, this post would be transformed into a small novel…which they’ve already wrote! You can find many of The Table Group’s books online, such as The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The Ideal Team Player; I’d highly recommend giving them a read. His overall point, though, remained constant throughout: an organization that holds fast to its core values and hires with those in mind will have a happier, more engaged workforce.