Power Levels
  The OLA identifies six levels of organizational health each designated by a power level. These power levels are determined by the extent to which the Six Key Areas of organizational health are present in the organization. In an Org5 and Org6 these characteristics are perceived to be present within the leadership and throughout the organization. In an Org1 and Org2, these characteristics are mostly absent. The Org3 and Org4 levels represent organizations with a varied mix of these characteristics.

You will notice that the power levels are presented exponentially. An Org5 (to the 5th power) is incredibly more powerful than an Org2 (to the 2nd power). This is done intentionally to represent three very different ways of looking at growth and change.

First, there is inertia or the inability to move or change. (Org1 – Org2) This lack of growth will keep the organization from moving toward greater health and performance. The organization still functions, but it operates only on the energy of the past. It lacks the organizational health to move positively towards the future.

Second, there is gradual or incremental change. (Org3 – Org4) This kind of growth requires a steady, measured energy...the ability for an organization to better what it has done in the past...to make improvements over time. This organization can and will improve, but it will begin to rest on a plateau of “good enough”...dulled by its own achievement and success with an ever growing contentment to be just a little better than the rest.

Third, there is exponential or quantum change. (Org5 – Org6) This kind of change requires something very different from what has been done in the past. It requires a totally new way of thinking about organizations and leadership. It requires a true paradigm change...a mind-shift that sees all in the organization as potential leaders...and refuses to measure itself against anything less than its own incredible potential.

An organization cannot simply move from inertia to incremental change to quantum growth. Moving from one of these levels to the next requires a major shift in thinking and behaving. This is never easy, but must be done, or the organization will continue to merely perpetuate itself without the power, or energy, to move to the next level.
  Power represents the ability to do...to act. In an organization it provides the capacity to fulfill a compelling vision, to meet goals, to develop the highest quality workers and to deal effectively and creatively with ever-present change.

An interesting paradox is that we are the most powerful when we give our power away. Shared power within a healthy organizational environment provides for an exponential growth in the ability to act. The healthy organization is in the best position to leverage its resources, its strategies and its dreams.

Before Albert Einstein (and other quantum thinkers) came on the scene in the early 1900’s we were satisfied with the formula E = mv2...Energy = mass x velocity (squared). Two vehicles at 2000 lbs of mass each collide at a velocity of 60 miles per hour. The energy produced by this collision is immense and measurable. This formula would represent our Org3 and Org4 levels. These organizations have the ability to act...to meet their goals and to become good companies. Most of the organizations we see are in this category. Good, but not great. The energy they produce is sufficient to keep the organization moving forward, but it cannot move them to the next level of exceptional performance. That kind of quantum leap will require a new formula...a totally new way of thinking about how organizations are run.

Enter Albert Einstein and a new theory of relativity producing a different formula...E = mc2. What changed in this formula?...just one small letter. Now we are looking at Energy = mass x the speed of light (squared). Within the last half of the 20th century this formula has led to the creation of space flight, weapons, energy production and innovations that were unthinkable prior to this new understanding of power. This new formula represents our Org5 and Org6 levels. The change at first glance seems simple enough, but the effects are exponential.

Healthy organizations are powerful organizations that have found the way to tap into the awesome energy of a servant-minded culture unleashing the incredible capacity within each individual and the entire group.

Perception Match
  Research utilizing the OLA has revealed a common phenomenon within organizations. There is, more often than not, a clear lack of Perception Match between the top leadership in an organization and the workforce in terms of how they view the organization. Top leaders frequently view the organization more positively (in terms of the Six Key Areas of organizational health) than does the workforce.

Does this lack of perception match make a difference? Does it affect how different workers and leader work together in the organization?
  Does it affect the performance of an organization in any way? We believe that it does.

When a low perception match exists between leaders and workers it is clear that they are experiencing the organization in very different ways.

Some (commonly the leadership) may be assuming that the organization is healthier than it really is and therefore do not see the need of addressing unhealthy aspects of the organization. This is not surprising, since top leaders in an organization often find themselves insulated from the reality of the day-to-day functioning of the organization. This lack of awareness is dangerous and tends to perpetuate an “us-and-them” mentality that works against true community.

Others (commonly members of the workforce) know that the things that they are experiencing are often not understood by the leadership … and communication suffers. An effective, healthy organization needs to share an accurate awareness of its strengths and weaknesses so that they are all at the same starting point in terms of organizational improvement.

These two critical issues...
  • Shared awareness
  • Open communication
...are essential for establishing and growing the trust that is needed to create an organization that is healthy and growing.

The OLA allows an organization to determine the level of perception match within your organization to determine the best strategy for improvement.