Back in September 2007 The McKinsey Quarterly ran an article entitled "Anatomy of a healthy corporation." It argued that there were 5 key characteristics - resilience, execution, alignment, renewal, and complementarity. Since then, of course, we have had the global financial crisis. While all these are essential, I believe that there are times when they have a hierarchical relationship with certain characteristics being more important than others.
Resilience was clearly the key for the past couple of years. Corporations and other organisations that have survived the gfc to this point without relying on government bailouts or guarantees have certainly shown resilience. These organisations have battled through by making both strategic and tactical changes depending on what their environment was doing. I expect that most of these will now be able to move forward. I'm not so convinced about those that received government handouts and/or guarantees - from what I can see it is still "business as usual" for many of these (particularly in the financial sector) and I see no real indication that necessary changes have been made. Sadly this may mean that yesterday's mistakes may well occur again.
Today I believe that the key characteristic is renewal.
A key aspect of renewal is the ability to harness the energies of everyone in the organisation so that ideas can be generated and change can occur with the support of everyone involved. This requires leadership - but not the sort of leadership that is generally promulgated by the populist press. It needs true leadership - that which creates and sustains an environment for success (individual and organisational) for everyone involved. The starting point for that is a renewed vision of what the organisation can and should be.
What renewal is needed in your organisation?
What are you doing about it?
More information about Douglas Long at http://www.dglong.com