The one-sentence summary

Organizational health is more important than everything else in business.


  • Companies usually look to the same old stuff to gain competitive advantage – marketing, strategy, and technology.
  • But the untapped goldmine they often fail to exploit is making sure the business works properly – something the author calls Organizational Health.
  • The four components of this are:

1. Build a cohesive leadership team

2. Create clarity

3. Overcommunicate clarity (CEOs need to be Chief Reminding Officers)

4. Reinforce clarity (Starting True Rumours spreads information effectively)

  • Building a decent team involves building trust, allowing and mastering conflict, achieving commitment, embracing accountability, and focusing on results.
  • There are six critical questions that need answering to create clarity:

1. Why do we exist?

2. How do we behave?

3. What do we do?

4. How will we succeed?

5. What is most important, right now?

6. Who must do what?

  • Once these are properly answered, they need to be repeated again and again to staff, and reinforced with appropriate behaviour.


  • There has been a values stampede in companies, but generating charts with adjectives on them doesn’t get you very far. There are many types of values, and it is important to distinguish between them:
  • Core values: just two or three inherent behaviour traits.
  • Aspirational values: characteristics the organization wishes to have, but doesn’t yet.
  • Permission-to-play values: minimum behavioural standards required in order to be competitive.
  • Accidental values: unintentional traits that have come about but don’t necessarily serve the organization well. These can have unintended consequences.
  • A Thematic Goal is a rallying cry designed to defeat silos, politics and turf wars. It needs to be singular, qualitative and temporary, so that everyone in the company knows what to do right now.
  • Meeting Stew can be avoided by setting up 4 types: 1. Daily check-in (10 mins); 2. Weekly staff (45-90 mins); 3. Adhoc topical (2-4 hrs); 4. Quarterly offsite (1-2 days). These will only take 13% of your time.


  • Nothing. This is valuable stuff, and very useful as an awayday method.