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Health and performance. Two concepts that, according to McKinsey, go hand in hand in transformation. The challenge is combining them in a sustainable way.

Is there a relationship between health variables and performance within an organization? According to McKinsey, that is undoubtedly the case. Their claim is based on internal analysis [see methodology in this article].

It is not only a matter of the relationship between the two concepts, but of an intimate connection between them. They draw an analogy with the yin and yang, to stress that one cannot live without the other.

For McKinsey, organizations that enjoy better health also focus on strengthening their performance to create high-impact value, despite the uncertainty and challenges involved in the process.

How do they do it? Here are some of the keys:

1. Set a clear way forward. For McKinsey, health is the first stepping-stone for any transformation, beginning with a vision, establishing milestones and pinpointing potential threats along the way.

Communication plays a fundamental role in this first step: it must be present throughout the process, in a way that is specific to each profile involved in the road map drawn up by the organization. Impaired health means impaired performance.

2. Assign people to every step of the way. Once a course has been set, the organization must give meaning to that path for the people meant to advance along it (employees). Being a long-distance race, it is especially important to adjust to goals and not exhaust or burn employees. According to McKinsey, this can be done by adapting daily actions to the organization’s long-term strategic vision. Again, health and performance go hand in hand.

3. Encouraging ideas and innovation are a sign of good health, both within and without the organization; through resources like crowdsourcing with employees or other stakeholders in the organization’s ecosystem.

McKinsey cites examples of companies who seek to expand their innovation radius by gathering ideas from their clients, new recruits–with fresh ideas, removed from the traditional culture of the organization–or simply from their employee base, with a bottom-up focus.

The purpose, in any event, is to grow: have more ideas (performance) to build the business and become stronger (healthier).

4. Build robustly, combining operational discipline and clear leadership that supports employees and focuses on their well-being. In short, performance and health. To achieve the former, McKinsey believes it is essential to follow clear work standards and protocols, shared by everyone involved, and based on metrics and KPIs aligned with the organization’s goals and strategy.

The latter variable (health) can be strengthened by creating great team spirit, recognizing performance publicly and–especially–by reinforcing communication between employees and leaders.

Creating inertia.

However, a successful transformation does not only rely on the pairing between health and performance. McKinsey warns of the need to make this transformation sustainable, extending efforts and excellence over time. For that to be possible, they stress the importance of taking constant, daily care of the two indivisible pieces that make up this yin and yang.

Without health, performance is impossible. And performance can only achieve a high impact if health is maintained over time.

Measuring efforts and guaranteeing harmony and coexistence between the two will allow organizations to build impactful–and even more importantly–enduring transformations from the ground up.

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