OUR BLOG

LEADERSHIP

Do You Have A Leadership Team Or A Leadership Council?
Ten Traits Of Organizationally Healthy Professional Service Firms
To Grow Your Professional Service Firm, Prize Culture Over Strategy
TP35: The One Tipping Point Mid-Size Service Firms Must Address To Keep Growing
Seven Reasons Most Mid-Size Service Firms Don’t Grow Very Much
Five Reasons Mid-Size Service Firms Need A New Leadership Operating Model
How Leaders Can Address The Growth Tipping Point For Mid-Sized Service Firms
Five Reasons Professional Service Leaders Should Prize EQ Over IQ
Why Mid-Size Service Firm Leadership Teams Need Collective Objectives To Grow
How To Grow Your Mid-Sized Service Firm: Jealously Protect Your Focused Energy
Why Professional Service Firms Should Consider Circle Of Seven Mentoring Networks
How A Leader’s Energy Field Impacts Team Productivity
Don’t Trade Misery For Money: How Professional Service Firms Can Leverage The Great Resignation
Strong Personality Vs. Strong Person: The Makeup Of A Leadership Council
Custer Or Marshall: Why Mid-Size Service Firms Must Choose Their Leadership Model
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Define And Defend Your Values
If You Want To Grow Your Mid-Size Service Firm, Establish A Formal Leadership Council
Want To Grow Your Professional Service Firm? Focus On The One
If You Want To Grow Your Midsize Professional Service Firm, Align Your Leaders
Why Midsize Service Firm Leaders Must Think Like Entrepreneurs To Grow
How To Grow A Mid-Size Professional Service Firm Today
Why It's Important For Great Leaders To Tell Great Stories
How Great Leaders Persuade Using Word-Pictures
How The Say-Do Ratio Influences Trusted Advisor Status And Profits
Why Service Firm Leaders Should Nurture The Entrepreneurial Instincts Of Their Top People

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects

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TEN TRAITS OF ORGANIZATIONALLY HEALTHY PROFESSIONAL SERVICE FIRMS

HOW DOES YOUR FIRM COMPARE?

Organizational health is a topic that gets a lot of press these days. But almost no one seems to know what it actually is. More importantly, in the professional services world, there doesn’t seem to be a compelling business reason to care about organizational health or to try to adopt it. I believe that’s a huge missed opportunity. I think you should pay attention to organizational health because it pays dividends. Here’s what I mean.

I’ve completed an analysis of the outcomes of more than 70 mid-sized service firms, those with 25-100 staff, that my firm has served over the last 25 years. Some of these firms broke through to their next level while most did not. When I completed a close analysis of those who broke through, they all shared one common trait. You guessed it—organizational health. So how can you know if your firm is organizationally healthy? Here are ten traits to use as a measuring stick.

What Does It Mean To Break Through?

Before we look at the ten traits, let me explain what I mean by “break through.”  

  • Leaders identified a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) early in the life of their company.
  • They stayed focused on the BHAG and worked hard over many years to achieve it.
  • They faced adversity, losses and economic downturns—but did not quit.
  • They were specific about the BHAG, defining both the economics of it and the options they might consider once they achieved it. For some, this meant selling the business to a third party. For others it meant transferring leadership internally to younger professionals. For still others it meant a new period of advanced expansion and outside investment.

Ten Traits Of Organizationally Healthy Service Firms

  1. Low turn-over rates produce rock-solid operations. Healthy organizations have long-term employees who never want to work anywhere else. They have made their current employer the last stop on their career train. This eliminates worries about losing talent and allows everyone to focus on which seat on the bus is best for them. More than anything, it gives everyone a long-term view of their future, allowing them to relax and dream big dreams.
  2. Decision-making is deliberate and timely. Healthy organizations have formalized their decision-making process. It’s not a mystery to anyone how decisions get made or who makes them. For complex issues, a thoughtful multi-phase decision process produces results no one regrets. For simple issues, decisions are made quickly and executed almost immediately.
  3. Behavioral problems are vanquished quickly. Healthy organizations are intolerant of behaviors they don’t want to see because they have clearly defined their values. Leaders have effectively handled so many tough conversations that the staff have no doubt of their ability and willingness to do so. This means staff don’t have to worry about bad behavior hurting their morale or efforts. In healthy organizations, water cooler talk is almost non-existent. This means staff really focus on doing high quality work.
  4. Leaders are deeply aligned and rarely clash. Leaders in healthy organizations don’t always see things eye-to-eye. But they have formalized the process by which they come to agreement on topics. They don’t air dirty laundry about other leaders. Spirited conversations happen behind closed doors. More than anything else, staff know that leaders are aligned about the long-term goals of the organization and trust each other to act in their best interest.
  5. The best ideas win consistently. Healthy organizations have implemented a best-idea-wins decision-making process. They don’t care who an idea comes from. Every idea must stand up to the scrutiny of the “meat grinder.” Leaders are good at rooting out bad ideas while pounding on good ideas with certain weaknesses until they’re even better.
  6. Leaders face the brutal facts head-on. Leaders of healthy organizations don’t downplay hard truths. When things go wrong, they are quick to take responsibility and not blame others or attribute outcomes to erroneous sources. Leaders are honest with themselves first and with everyone else around them. This creates trust with staff.
  7. Staff trust leaders. In healthy organizations, staff believe what their leaders tell them. They don’t listen for hidden messages. Healthy organizations know that in the absence of factual information, people will supply their own narrative. Healthy organizations supply an honest narrative that staff believe in—even when things go wrong. This creates a lot of trust with staff.
  8. Teamwork is fluid and dynamic with almost no hierarchy. Healthy organizations win and lose as a team. While there are certainly departments, there are almost no walls between them. In many healthy firms, staff have worked in more than one department with more than one boss. The entire company is seen as “the team,” not just a single department. When one team gets overloaded, other teams and their leaders step in to help. But more than anything, there is almost no hierarchy which means power is shared across the entire organization. While everyone knows who’s responsible for the firm, those with responsibility wear it lightly and only exercise power as a last resort.
  9. Information flows freely and openly. Healthy organizations share openly. This is one of the reasons leaders are trusted. When something big happens—good or bad—staff know that it’s only a matter of hours or a couple of days at most before they will hear from their leaders. When leaders meet behind closed doors (which they do frequently), staff know that they’ll be briefed on what was discussed and it will be the straight dope, not a spin. Staff also know that they can ask clarifying questions and they’ll get straightforward answers.
  10. Strategic plans consistently produce results. The net result of all of this is that healthy organizations take control of their future by consistently executing their strategic plans. While these plans don’t always produce the results leaders were hoping to see, this is rarely because of a lack of ardent execution. Even those who were dubious about the plan threw their weight behind it and did their best to see it come to fruition. When things don’t work out, this is seen as a win because the leaders now know for sure that it was a path they shouldn’t go down. But more than anything, strong execution moves the company forward, with noticeable and publicly celebrated wins. This leaves both leaders and staff with great confidence in the future of the firm.

A Resource To Help You Achieve Organizational Health

I’m wondering how your firm compares? How many of these ten traits would you say are abundantly evident at your firm? How many could you improve upon? If you’d like to become an even healthier organization, I have an option for you to consider. I’ve written an eBook that discusses organizational health and the practices that produce it. The eBook goes into much greater detail. If you liked the ideas in the article, I know you’ll love the eBook.

About The Author

Randy Shattuck is a seasoned entrepreneur who works hand-in-hand with senior leaders of mid-size professional service firms to grow revenues, acquire clients, open new markets, increase profits and effectively position their brands.

OUR BLOG

LEADERSHIP

Do You Have A Leadership Team Or A Leadership Council?
Ten Traits Of Organizationally Healthy Professional Service Firms
To Grow Your Professional Service Firm, Prize Culture Over Strategy
TP35: The One Tipping Point Mid-Size Service Firms Must Address To Keep Growing
Seven Reasons Most Mid-Size Service Firms Don’t Grow Very Much
Five Reasons Mid-Size Service Firms Need A New Leadership Operating Model
How Leaders Can Address The Growth Tipping Point For Mid-Sized Service Firms
Five Reasons Professional Service Leaders Should Prize EQ Over IQ
Why Mid-Size Service Firm Leadership Teams Need Collective Objectives To Grow
How To Grow Your Mid-Sized Service Firm: Jealously Protect Your Focused Energy
Why Professional Service Firms Should Consider Circle Of Seven Mentoring Networks
How A Leader’s Energy Field Impacts Team Productivity
Don’t Trade Misery For Money: How Professional Service Firms Can Leverage The Great Resignation
Strong Personality Vs. Strong Person: The Makeup Of A Leadership Council
Custer Or Marshall: Why Mid-Size Service Firms Must Choose Their Leadership Model
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Define And Defend Your Values
If You Want To Grow Your Mid-Size Service Firm, Establish A Formal Leadership Council
Want To Grow Your Professional Service Firm? Focus On The One
If You Want To Grow Your Midsize Professional Service Firm, Align Your Leaders
Why Midsize Service Firm Leaders Must Think Like Entrepreneurs To Grow
How To Grow A Mid-Size Professional Service Firm Today
Why It's Important For Great Leaders To Tell Great Stories
How Great Leaders Persuade Using Word-Pictures
How The Say-Do Ratio Influences Trusted Advisor Status And Profits
Why Service Firm Leaders Should Nurture The Entrepreneurial Instincts Of Their Top People

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects