Tend to Your Goldfish

As we headed into the 2016 Presidential election in the U.S., I heard a lot of rhetoric and surmise that many thoughts are focused on renewal and moving onward. It is customary for our societies to set new expectations and make new promises in an election window. You may have already updated your goals or committed to close 2016 in a way that you have never done so before, until now! Either way, I hope you will allow some room for one more goal in 2016: Tend to your goldfish!

“The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it.” – Patrick Lencioni from The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything.

Metaphorically, think of your organizational health as the water in which the goldfish swim, where the fish are the employees and the water is the culture or organizational health of the company. If the quality of the water degrades, what happens to the quality of the fish? What needs to be done to maintain healthy water? How frequently do you need to tend to the water? The fish? What happens to the water when you add new fish? More fish? When do you need to get a new bowl? A bigger bowl? A smaller bowl?

I suggest that there are only two types of fish, those that clean the water and those that pollute the water. So, which type of fish are you?

Let’s extend the metaphor to our favorite topic of business change. Transformations that are big, bold, and daring compel the leadership team to be equally big, bold, and daring. Great achievements require great leaders! Now, take a deep breath. We all have unique value to contribute to society, your company, family, community, etc. Within the context of a transformation, I suggest that your call to action for 2016 is to create your own single greatest advantage: organizational health by tending to your goldfish and healthy water! How frequently are you tending to the water? The fish? Are you cleaning the water or polluting it? The good news is that:

  • It is simple. Launch a passionate employee engagement campaign, that you truly believe in, in your office, department, or team. Ignite the fire and let it grow.
  • It is free. A smile, kindness, passion for our customers, honesty with ourselves, and being genuine don’t cost us anything.
  • It is available to anyone who wants it. What you give out will be returned to you two times.

Your organizational health is in your hands. Don’t settle. Be a great leader every day, by growing a healthy organizational that benefits your customers, employees, and owners! As we close our 2016, ask yourself and your leaders this: What can you do to clean the water? Grow a healthy organization for your company? How are you caring and feeding for the fish and the fish bowl, today?

Joe Rafter