From the Kitchen Table to the Board Table – Crossing the Chasm

| December 19, 2012 | 0 Comments

In 1991 Geoffrey Moore wrote a landmark book, Crossing the Chasm, describing the pitfalls and landmines encountered by software companies attempting to market and sell technology products to mainstream customers. It provides incredible insight on marketing imperatives needed to move from start-up to successful and sustainable.

From an organizational perspective, moving the heart and soul of a company – its leadership and employees – from the kitchen table to the board table is equally fraught with the perils of crossing a chasm.

As with any dynamic venture, success depends on smart people. It also requires a high-functioning team that trusts each other and is fanatical about accountability and whose decision making is based on a clear, deeply understood core purpose. Crossing the chasm requires a smart and a healthy team. Patrick Lencioni’s latest book, The Advantage, does a masterful job describing the critical attributes of a healthy organization. I have been a follower of Pat’s work for a number of years. As Enrique Salem, president and CEO of Symantec states, “Here is the next business classic. Even the best leaders will read this and wonder, ‘Why aren’t we already doing this?'” Organizational health is the critical multiplier that must be applied to a group of smart people if you want to see results that stick.

If you are interested in empirical data that proves the financial benefits of a healthy organization, I suggest you pick up Good Company, authored by Laurie Bassi and her colleagues. As Daniel Pink describes, “Good Company shows that in the new social marketplace, businesses that succeed will be those that prove themselves worthy of trust. Three cheers for the Worthiness Era!”

Lencioni writes that organizational health is based on the integrity of management, operations, strategy and culture melding together in a way that is whole, consistent and synergistic. A company must have both smart leaders and employees – and it must have an organization that is represented by the following:

  • Minimal Politics
  • Minimal Confusion
  • High Morale
  • High Productivity
  • Low Turnover

These are not easy attributes to attain. More than a few companies with smart folks have fallen into the chasm due to the lack of one or more of the five organizational health indicators. Think back to a time when you were sitting around the table with a leadership team. Smart people with MBAs, Masters, and multiple letters after their names, that could not pull it together. More than one investor bought into a company believing they had just invested in some great talent. Individually, they did. But they did not buy a high-functioning team. Organizational health is the multiplier for ‘smart’. Investors and leaders need to broaden their definition and focus on all of the multiples.

In our next issue we’ll take a look at six critical questions that Lencioni asks of a company’s leaders. I have had the pleasure of facilitating this process for several companies with great success. The result is a Playbook that pulls the team together, provides the direction and determines the execution strategy. I would be happy to discuss how this may be of benefit for you and your company. Drop me a note, I’d love to hear from you.



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Category: Leadership, Newsletters


About the Author ()

Julia Hill-Nichols, SPHR, is the founder of LeadersCove, LLC. With over 30 years experience in operations and human capital management, Julia is gifted in the art and science of bridging strategic imperatives and a company’s human capabilities—executing for success, meeting bottom-line objectives and enlivening the people who are the organization’s lifeblood.

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