On what kind of diet is your organisation?

Consider the paradox. On one side there is this obsessive focus on efficiency and cost reduction. On the other side there is a growing awareness that many of these efficiency efforts are leading to unhealthy situations where co-workers are suffering from paralyzing stress, burn outs, … Well intentioned concepts like “lean management” are perceived as a must and as a threat at the same time, even though not always by the same people…

Couldn’t you compare this with going on a diet?

You can rush into a crash diet at any time, some of you are probably considering this very seriously after the excesses of last weeks. In some cases you will really notice spectacular results, at least on one part of the scorecard. But what about your other KPIs? Are you still feeling physically well? How sustainable is your loss of weight? We all know that these crash diets don’t work and can even be dangerous. We know that it is not about wildly cutting on food, but about adopting a healthier nutrition pattern and life style. It is the only way to sustainably lose weight, keep in shape and feel great.

Isn’t it the same for our companies and organizations?

Aren’t they rushing too often into crash diets? Finding themselves after a few months with a skinny but low performing organisation? Putting their human capital, their commercial attractiveness and their sustainability at stake? Instead of looking for healthy patterns of costs and benefits. Cutting on fats and sugars, but within the framework of a healthy organisation, powered by engaged employees, aiming for sustainable performance.

Aiming for sustainable effectiveness

Of course pressure on management is more compelling than ever. Managers’ panic when receiving the e-mail with the latest monthly report is the same as the panic of naked men and women just before stepping on their bathroom scale. But it shouldn’t keep them from looking at the scoreboard as a whole. Where striving for effectiveness is like striving for a healthy nutrition pattern. Where nourishing human capital and feeding the connections between employees are at the base of the performance pyramid.


By Xavier Huysmans