Organisational Health: What's the Prognosis?

Every year, many people opt to go to the doctor for their ‘medicals’. Some go when the pain is too much to bear. With abated breath and pounding hearts they watch as the results are quietly opened up to the moment of revelation. The doctor reveals the results and sometimes cringes a bit and the client hastily the consultation asks: what’s the prognosis? And the doctor smiles with the declaration: I think it can be fixed - you came early. At that moment it seems that what happens to this person in the future hangs on this score.

A person’s state of health and well being depends on his or her willingness to take the test and face the prognosis. A business is a legal person.

Caribbean business entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly anxious about their positioning in the face of a rapidly changing economic, social, political and international environment. Buffeted by a vigorous wind of change that breaks down traditional fortresses and ushers in a different kind of development, economies are thrown into transition.

Who’s Who on Saint Lucia’s business landscape is a confirmation that there are business persons who understand this principle. It is an assurance that they carry out the test and use the prognosis as the basis for their strategic thinking and the way forward. The Investor relations Programme being pursued by the Government of Saint Lucia (through the National Development Corporation) as an approach to economic development is attracting into Saint Lucia a sophisticated cadre of entrepreneurs, who come with a mind to excel. Who’s Who is the call for verification that our response to change is adequate to the task of communicating the country’s development focus and proposition to the investor community.

When was the last time you gave your organization a check up? Traditionally businesses annually post a notice indicating that they are ‘closed for stock taking’. But their concern is about the value of the closing inventory and the amount of pilferage. However, the new environment will require that organizations regularly construct those moments of revelation that reveal the health of their businesses and the prognosis.

How will you know whether your organization is ready to adopt international standards (best practices), that lead to the assurance of quality, competitiveness, and hypergrowth? Are our internal attitudes to business in tandem with the objectives associated with the task we have set ourselves of improving the national income of Saint Lucia?

Sound business health is verified and restored via a diagnosis, and the confidence necessary to deal with the prognosis. In other words: the knowledge of the prognosis is one diagnosis away.

There are many diagnostic instruments an entrepreneur can use, starting with a ‘process consultation’ when you are not sure what is the problem, to a ‘depth of change analysis’ when you want to know whether the problem is technical in nature or at the psyco-social level. The people who have succeeded in business know the prognosis because they conduct the external environmental assessment on a regular basis. And they respond rationally to the trends. “Decision-making without diagnosis is malpractice” - is still a sound principle in business. That does not mean there is no place for “gut feeling” in decision-making. Both rationality and ‘gut feeling’ are preceded by the quest to know the position.

Profitability is one indicator of success in business. But profit is the result of one year’s effort. It does not tell a business person whether the organization is on a growth path, or ready for CSME.

There will never be a day when an entrepreneur in Saint Lucia will safely graduate from the need to ask: Where are the winds blowing; and what does that mean for my business in an open, transitional economy like ours? Identifying the right source of help is critical. One cannot go to a cosmetologist to fix a broken shoe. We may have heard the carefree wayfarer sing “Chanson Marianne”. Here’s a grand opportunity to feature the variety of talent that few recognize exist in Saint Lucia.

One good place to start the search for answers is by conducting a ‘life-cycle analysis’ for your business. This will tell you what stage of development your organization is at and how resilient it is for the challenge ahead. You will not know the prognosis if we have not taken the test. Our future depends on our willingness and ability to find out, to understand the implications and to respond strategically.

Byline:
The Organizational Therapist Ltd is dedicated to assisting firms take a more rational approach to decision making. We encourage self analysis and introspection. The organization has compiled a number of diagnostic and intervention tools that are available to assist in achieving goals. We can be reached at email: orgtherapist@yahoo.com.au

By Claudius 'peto' Francis