“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Abraham Lincoln

My Competitive Advantage

Each month, I have provided information on five processes needed to ensure your greatest competitive advantage: organizational wellness. My intent throughout this series is to help you determine how your business is positioned for current and sustained wellbeing.

By addressing each process, you get a picture of your organization’s social and emotional intelligence, engagement levels and can determine the need for a leadership development process. The five processes of organizational wellness are:

  1. REQUIREMENTS GATHERING
  2. HUMAN SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
  3. PROGRAM DESIGN
  4. IMPLEMENTATION
  5. TESTING AND MAINTENANCE

I have always been drawn to unorthodox concepts of how people might form community, and develop into good, contributing, caring citizens empowered to be victorious rather than victims. In the last 30 years I have turned awareness of just such concepts into an obsession (and a company), answering these liberating questions.

  • How can we shift the workplace culture development process so that rather than diminish people and demean the human spirit, each person is assisted in expanding into their wholeness?
  • What can we do to create businesses in which it feels safe to be powerfully influential, inventive, vulnerable, creative and collaborative so we are authentic, innovators and co-creators?
  • What does an organization look like in which people thrive rather than simply survive?

In this fifth of five articles, I describe what and why to focus on Testing and Maintenance of your human systems.

What? Testing and maintenance are the measureable ways you define and track success and make course corrections.

Why? Staying on top of the improvements is key and maintaining and reporting success to your staff fuels positive momentum. This article focuses on testing and improving.  Ask yourself:

  • Do we regularly track key performance metrics, including reaching defined milestones, and within dates of completion?
  • Do we review, analyze and assemble assessment data to improve processes?
  • Do we develop specific plans to make course corrections?
  • Do we share assessment data with our employees?
  • Do we review it together to celebrate successes and problem-solve emerging challenges?
  • Do we make sure our entire staff and leadership team members implement course corrections?
  • Do we utilize a cross-section of people from each business area to identify needs and solutions together?

A requirement for organizational wellness is essential as we expand our increasingly technological and global community. We are evolving at an accelerated pace which creates greater stress and a pressing need to be more inter-dependent and streamlined in our evolution. What once took years and even decades to create now takes only months or days and our outdated organizational systems can’t keep up with our present or future.

In your testing and maintenance phase, you are an organization exercising all four emotional and social intelligence competencies.  You are self-aware, self-managing, aware of interdependency between people and business functions, and effective managing relationships among them.  You have a responsibility-based, value-based organization, sustaining change and improvements.  You are enjoying your transformation process and able to quickly integrate advanced skills and strategies.

Business executives, community leaders and educators hire Lifework Systems because we increase their bottom line and enable them to gain a competitive advantage by building leadership capacity at every level within their organization and by implementing systems needed to cultivate healthy, accountable, and productive workplaces.

Judy Ryan (judy@LifeworkSystems.com), human systems specialist, is owner of LifeWork Systems. Her mission is to help people create lives and jobs they love. She can be reached at 314-239-4727.

As published in St. Louis Small Business Monthly, March 2014