If I were to ask about the health of the organization you run or work for, how would you think about this idea?
You might understand my question as referring to the physical health of your workers or co-workers, or the level of daily stress that is typical. You may initially see my question in terms of the demands your organization makes on its members, and whether it leaves time for life outside of work.
All of these considerations are of course important aspects of healthy modern life and work, but they really don’t answer the question of how healthy the organization is, as an entity unto itself (understanding that any organization’s health influences and is impacted by the health of real people).
But just as with real people, organizations can be seen as relatively and thus comparatively healthy or unhealthy – as existing on an organizational health continuum – once we examine and broaden our thinking about the basic nature of all forms or expressions of the important quality we call health.
Three Definitions Of Health
I would encourage you to stop and spend a minute thinking about health as a natural quality of living things – be they living individuals, groups, or even whole societies – and to craft a simple definition of health.
Don’t be disappointed if you can’t come up with a good working definition right away. In truth, even among people whose job it is to think about and advance health – including physicians but also other professionals in various fields – we frequently fail to reach a full and enduring sense of what health is in its essence.