Seven Keys to Organizational Health

(3 minute read)

Recently I’ve had some really challenging issues with several clients. In one organization we encountered significant resistance to change in the board of directors and one in the staff leadership. This blog outlines seven keys for leadership to focus on, which will guarantee that OH will improve.

If OH is not what it could be, it's important that the leadership (CEO and her/his core group of leaders) do their best to stay out of the weeks and focus on the larger, strategic issues that shape and guide the organization. Be aware that the higher the stress level and more intense the issues, the greater likelihood that people will want to micromanage. With that in mind, here are seven keys to OH. Leadership should focus on:

  • Culture that exhibits clarity of mission, vision and values, specifically in three areas: Alignment, Cohesion and Separation (more on that in the November 4, 2023 blog)

Culture will impove when focusing on clarity of purpose involving Mission, Vision & Values; Strategy; Message (marketing/fundraising); Decision-making; Behavior/expectations create momentum that creates a virtuous circle of quality productivity that continually seeks to improve itself. Not focusing on culture will actually lead to a dysfunctional culture by default of neglect.

  • Strategy/Plan that demonstrates relevance, innovation and risk-taking.
  • Leadership - Solid, consistent leadership team – high, frequent turnover is the enemy of OH.
  • Trust – Trust is developed in organizations where truth and transparency are encouraged in an environment without fear of retribution. Without Trust there will be silos, turning inward, work for self and not for the mission or team.
  • Vulnerability at the right time in the right dose strengthens bonds/relationships. Vulnerability is a strength, even though many were taught it was a weakness.
  • Agency – People need to exhibit a high degree of self-differentiation and determination. No blaming or shaming. People accept personal responsibility for their role, and are quick to apologize for failure. Individuals and individual contribution are valued and needed. Leaders need to "have the spirit of a dove and the hide of a rhinoceros."
  • Financial markers of stability with margin are demanded. Adequate streams of revenue exist to sustain and grow the organization, and invest in innovation and capacity building.

Whether you’re a corporation, nonprofit or a congregation, focusing on these seven markers of OH will lead to a stronger organization that is more powerful, more relevant, more sustainable and where work is more meaningful and fun. It may not be easy to achieve this, but it’s worth it.

Which of these seven steps is the best place for you to start?


This blog shares perspectives on how you have the ability to create new story endings that are filled with greater meaning, power and hope. Brian Becker facilitates leadership and culture changing processes that help organizations achieve greater impact. He also provides leadership coaching to help executives and aspiring leaders become the fullest expression of who they’re intended to be.

If you're looking for coaching or consulting services, you can contact Brian here -

#leadership #vision #culture #nonprofit