Below you will find the full-page descriptions of the Organizational Health levels. These descriptions are built around the presence or absence of the six key areas (Displaying Authenticity, Valuing People, Developing People, Building Community, Providing Leadership, Sharing Leadership) as they relate to organizational issues of Leadership, Workers, Team and Culture.


  When an organization reaches this level, it operates with Optimal Organizational Health in terms of its workers, leadership and organizational culture, and it exhibits these characteristics to a very high level throughout all levels of operation.

The Workers: Motivation, morale, attitude & commitment, listening, relationships vs. tasks
All workers are valued here, for who they are as well as for what they contribute to the organization. They are believed in and are encouraged to develop to their full potential as workers and as individuals. All leaders and workers listen receptively to one another and are involved together in many of the important decisions of the organization. Relationships are strong and healthy and diversity is valued and celebrated.

The Leadership: Power, decision-making, goals & direction
People provide dynamic and effective leadership at all levels of the organization. Power and leadership are shared so that all workers are empowered to contribute to important decisions, including the direction that the organization is taking. Appropriate action is taken, goals are clear and vision is shared throughout the entire organization.

The Team: Community, collaboration and team learning
An extremely high level of community characterizes this positive work environment. People work together well in teams and choose collaborative work over competition against one another.

The Culture: Authenticity, integrity, accountability, creativity, trust, service, communication
This is an environment characterized by the authenticity of its workers, supervisors and executive leaders. People are very open and accountable to others. They operate with complete honesty and integrity. This is a “people first” environment where risks are taken, failure is learned from and creativity is encouraged and rewarded. People throughout the entire organization are highly trusted and are highly trustworthy. Fear does not exist as a motivation. People are highly motivated to serve the interests of each other before their own self-interest and are open to learning from each other. This is an environment that is characterized by open and effective communication throughout the organization.

The Outlook: Type of workers attracted, action needed
This is a servant-minded organization throughout, which will continue to attract the very best and most motivated workers who can welcome positive change and continuous improvement. It is a place where energy and motivation are continually renewed to provide for the challenges of the future. The outlook is extremely positive. Ongoing attention should be given to building new strengths and continuing to maintain and develop as an optimally healthy organization.


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  This organization is now operating with Excellent Organizational Health in terms of its workers, leadership and organizational culture and it exhibits these characteristics throughout most levels of operation.

The Workers: Motivation, morale, attitude & commitment, listening, relationships vs. tasks
Most workers feel valued here, for who they are as well as for what they contribute to the organization. They are believed in and are encouraged to develop to their full potential as workers and as individuals. Most leaders and workers listen receptively to one another and are involved together in some of the important decisions of the organization. Most relationships are strong and healthy and diversity is valued and celebrated.

The Leadership: Power, decision-making, goals & direction
People are encouraged to provide leadership at all levels of the organization. Power and leadership are shared so that most workers are empowered to contribute to important decisions, including the direction that the organization is taking. Appropriate action is taken, goals are clear and vision is shared throughout most of the organization.

The Team: Community, collaboration and team learning
A high level of community characterizes this positive work environment. People work together well in teams and prefer collaborative work over competition against one another.

The Culture: Authenticity, integrity, accountability, creativity, trust, service, communication
This is an environment mostly characterized by the authenticity of its workers, supervisors and senior leaders. People are open and accountable to others. They operate with honesty and integrity. This is a “people first” environment where risks are encouraged, failure can be learned from and creativity is encouraged and rewarded. People are trusted and are trustworthy throughout the organization. Fear is not used as a motivation. People are motivated to serve the interests of each other before their own self-interest and are open to learning from each other. This is an environment that is characterized by open and effective communication.

The Outlook: Type of workers attracted, action needed
This is a servant-oriented organization, which will continue to attract some of the best and most motivated workers who can welcome positive change and continuous improvement. It is a place where energy and motivation are continually renewed to provide for the challenges of the future. The outlook is very positive. Ongoing attention should be given to building on existing strengths and continuing to learn and develop towards an optimally healthy organization.


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  This organization is now operating with Moderate Organizational Health in terms of its workers, leadership and organizational culture and it exhibits these characteristics throughout most levels of operation.

The Workers: Motivation, morale, attitude & commitment, listening, relationships vs. tasks

The Leadership: Power, decision-making, goals & direction
Leadership is positively paternalistic in style and mostly comes from the top levels of the organization. Leaders often take the role of nurturing parent while workers assume the role of the cared-for child. Power is delegated for specific tasks and for specific positions within the organization. Workers are encouraged to share ideas for improving the organization. Goals are mostly clear though the overall direction of the organization is sometimes confused.

The Team: Community, collaboration and team learning
Some level of cooperative work exists, and some true collaboration. Teams are utilized but often compete against one another when resources are scarce.

The Culture: Authenticity, integrity, accountability, creativity, trust, service, communication
Workers are sometimes unsure of where they stand and how open they can be with one another and especially with those in leadership over them. This is an environment where some risks can be taken but failure is sometimes feared. Creativity is encouraged as long as it doesn’t move the organization too much beyond the status quo. There is a moderate level of trust and trustworthiness along with occasional uncertainty and fear. People feel trusted but know that trust can be lost very easily. People are motivated to serve the organization because it is their job to do so and they are committed to doing good work. This is an environment characterized by openness between select groups of people.

The Outlook: Type of workers attracted, action needed
This is a positively paternalistic organization that will attract good motivated workers but may find that the “best and brightest” will seek professional challenges elsewhere. Change here is ongoing but often forced by outside circumstances. Improvement is desired but difficult to maintain over time. The outlook for this organization is positive. Decisions need to be made to move toward more healthy organizational life. This organization is in a good position to move towards optimal health in the future.


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  This organization is now operating with Limited Organizational Health in terms of its workers, leadership and organizational culture, and it exhibits these characteristics throughout most levels of operation.

The Workers: Motivation, morale, attitude & commitment, listening, relationships vs. tasks
Most workers sense they are valued more for what they can contribute than for who they are. When they receive training in this organization it is primarily to increase their performance and their value to the company not to develop personally. Workers are sometimes listened to but only when they speak in line with the values and priorities of the leaders. Their ideas are sometimes sought but seldom used, while the important decisions remain at the top levels of the organization. Relationships tend to be functional and the organizational tasks almost always come first. Conformity is expected while individual expression is discouraged.

The Leadership: Power, decision-making, goals & direction
Leadership is negatively paternalistic in style and is focused at the top levels of the organization. Leaders often take the role of critical parent while workers assume the role of the cautious child. Power is delegated for specific tasks and for specific positions within the organization. Workers provide some decision-making when it is appropriate to their position. Goals are sometimes unclear and the overall direction of the organization is often confused.

The Team: Community, collaboration and team learning
This is mostly an individualistic environment. Some level of cooperative work exists, but little true collaboration. Teams are utilized but often are characterized by an unproductive competitive spirit.

The Culture: Authenticity, integrity, accountability, creativity, trust, service, communication
Workers are unsure of where they stand and how open they can be with one another, and especially with those in leadership over them. This is an environment where limited risks are taken, failure is not allowed and creativity is encouraged only when it fits within the organization’s existing guidelines. There is a minimal to moderate level of trust and trustworthiness along with an underlying uncertainty and fear. People feel that they must prove themselves and that they are only as good as their last performance. People are sometimes motivated to serve the organization but are not sure that the organization is committed to them. This is an environment that is characterized by a guarded, cautious openness.

The Outlook: Type of workers attracted, action needed
This is a negatively paternalistic organization that tends to foster worker compliance. The best and most creative workers may look elsewhere. Change here is long-term and incremental and improvement is desired but difficult to achieve. The outlook for this organization is uncertain. Decisions need to be made to move toward more healthy organizational life. In times of organizational stress there will be a tendency to move toward a more autocratic organizational environment.


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  This organization is now operating with Poor Organizational Health in terms of its workers, leadership and organizational culture and it exhibits these characteristics throughout most levels of operation.

The Workers: Motivation, morale, attitude & commitment, listening, relationships vs. tasks
Most workers do not feel valued or believed in here. They often feel used and do not feel that they have the opportunity of being developed either personally or professionally. Workers are rarely listened to and only when they speak in line with the values and priorities of the leaders. Their ideas are rarely sought and almost never used. Most decisions are made at the top levels of the organization. Relationships are not encouraged and the tasks of the organization come before people. Diversity is not valued or appreciated.

The Leadership: Power, decision-making, goals & direction
Leadership is autocratic in style and is imposed from the top levels of the organization. Power is held at the highest positions only and is used to force compliance with the leader’s wishes. Workers do not feel empowered to create change. Goals are often unclear and the overall direction of the organization is confused.

The Team: Community, collaboration and team learning
This is a highly individualistic and competitive environment. Almost no collaboration exists. Teams are sometimes utilized but often are put in competition with each other in order to motivate performance.

The Culture: Authenticity, integrity, accountability, creativity, trust, service, communication
This is an environment often characterized by lack of honesty and integrity among its workers, supervisors and senior leaders. It is an environment where risks are seldom taken, failure is often punished and creativity is discouraged. There is a very low level of trust and trustworthiness along with a high level of uncertainty and fear. Leaders do not trust the workers and the workers view the leaders as untrustworthy. People lack motivation to serve the organization because they do not feel that it is their organization or their goals. This is an environment that is characterized by closed communication.

The Outlook: Type of workers attracted, action needed
This is an autocratic organization, which will find it very difficult to find, develop and maintain healthy productive workers. Change is needed but very difficult to achieve. The outlook is not positive for this organization. Serious measures must be instituted in order for this organization to establish the necessary improvements to move towards positive organizational health.


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  This organization is now operating with Toxic Organizational Health in terms of its workers, leadership and organizational culture and it exhibits these characteristics throughout most levels of operation

The Workers: Motivation, morale, attitude & commitment, listening, relationships vs. tasks
Workers are devalued here. They are not believed in and in turn do not believe in one another. Workers are used and even abused in this work setting. There is no opportunity for personal development. Workers are not listened to. Their ideas are never sought or considered. All decisions are made at the top levels of the organization. Relationships are dysfunctional and people are only valued for conformity to the dominant culture. Diversity is seen as a threat and differences are cause for suspicion.

The Leadership: Power, decision-making, goals & direction
True leadership is missing at all levels of the organization. Power is used by leaders in ways that are harmful to workers and to the organization’s mission. Workers do not have the power to act to initiate change. Goals are unclear and people do not know where the organization is going.

The Team: Community, collaboration and team learning
People are out for themselves and a highly political climate exists. People are manipulated and pitted against each other in order to motivate performance. Focus is placed on punishing non-performers.

The Culture: Authenticity, integrity, accountability, creativity, trust, service, communication
This is an environment characterized by dishonesty and a deep lack of integrity among its workers, supervisors and senior leaders. It is an environment where failure is punished, creativity is stifled and risks are never taken. People are suspicious of each other and feel manipulated and used. There is almost no trust level and an extremely high level of fear because people, especially the leadership, are seen as untrustworthy. At all levels of the organization, people serve their own self-interest before the interest of others. This is an environment that is characterized by totally closed communication.

The Outlook: Type of workers attracted, action needed
This is an organization in name only that will find it impossible to find, develop and maintain healthy productive workers who can navigate the changes necessary to improve. The outlook for this organization is doubtful. Extreme measures must be instituted in order for this organization to establish the necessary health to survive.


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