Make Work Healthy

Create a Sustainable Organization with High-Performing Employees


5 minute read

Healty Work-Create a Sustainable Organization with High-Performing Employees

I was thrilled when Michael Burchell agreed to join our cadre of Dion Leadership Coaches & Consultants a few years ago. I have known Michael for over a decade, having first met him when I was a CHRO and he was my consultant at the Great Place to Work Institute. I was thoroughly impressed with the books he co-authored with Jennifer Robin (who also happens to be a Dion Leadership Coach & Consultant!): The Great Workplace and No Excuses.

When Michael told me he was writing a new book with John Ryan, I couldn’t wait to learn more about it. Make Work Healthy: Create a Sustainable Organization with High-Performing Employees will be published by Wiley later this month. John and Michael have agreed to be featured guests for our work healthy webinar on March 21st (check out John’s video invitation at the bottom of this post). They also granted me a sneak peek at their book manuscript and permission to share a section of it with you. The piece below is from the first chapter, and I think it sets the stage beautifully for why their book matters to forward-thinking leaders today.

From Make Work Healthy by John S. Ryan and Michael J. Burchell

How healthy are you? How healthy are your people? How healthy is your

These are vitally important questions—the answers to which determine the limits of your life, your team’s effectiveness, and your organization’s success. These questions are interrelated. Your team and your organization have a direct impact on your own health and well-being. And your organization’s performance and success are dependent on the health of its people. This symbiotic relationship between your people’s health and your organization’s health and performance may seem like a no-brainer. You might be thinking, “Of course that would be the case.” But in our research and experience in working with organizations over several decades, we find that very few organizations act on this understanding. If they do make some effort, we find that employees are typically offered some sort of wellness or workplace well-being program. These might be useful, necessary even, but not sufficient. And more importantly, they fail to address the organization’s strategic opportunity in organizing itself and developing more ways of working that actually promote and support employee health.

What if leaders seriously entertained the idea that higher performance is a result of businesses organizing around their people rather than people having to organize around the business? We have taken as fact that the way to increase productivity and profit is through an absolute adherence to Taylorism, the management theory made popular by Frederick Taylor that is characterized by standards, being mechanistic, inflexible, and precise. These ideas have made a significant contribution to our understanding of organizations and productivity; they have their place. However, the wholesale shift to this organizational mindset has its limits and isn’t without cost. We find that an adherence to old ways of working and relating results in a decreased sense of personal purpose and accomplishment, less role and strategic clarity, and disconnection and lack of control over one’s work environment. It’s unfortunate, as organizations then must invest in programs and interventions just to address the problems that this mindset created in the first place!

A people-centered workplace might seem like a tough shift to make. If you’re a leader, manager, or small business owner and looking to realize increased effectiveness with your people or productivity and financial results, reimagining how to organize your business and its culture seems like a bigger project than you might have the appetite for. The usual way of managing and leading may be tempting, but if you have picked up this book, we imagine that you’re open to making a shift in mental mindset and aligning your behaviors to achieve outsized business gains and, concurrently, have a more authentic and fulfilling experience as a leader. In other words, it’s worth the investment of creating a healthy place to work, and the energy you put into this will yield significant returns.

This book aims to equip leaders with a road map and tools to make a demonstrable impact with their people and their organization. We argue here that rather than work and the workplace being the cause of disease, dysfunction, and limited performance, a healthy workplace is the key to unlocking the full value of your people and your organization.

Interested in learning more?

Please sign up for the upcoming Making Work Healthy webinar. And be sure to have a look at John’s short video that provides some additional insight on the presentation.

We hope you will join us on March 21st at 11:00 a.m. Eastern so that you can hear John and Michael live!

Steve Dion-Founder & CEO-Dion Leadership

Steve Dion

Founder & CEO

Steve has dedicated his career to understanding and improving organizational cultures through the creation and deployment of innovative assessment, leadership, and team development programs. He is a regular contributor to CEOWORLD magazine, Chief Executive, Fast Company, Training Industry, and HRCI’s HR Leads Business Blog. Steve and his Dion Leadership colleagues have recently launched a new
e-learning course that supports
 work-life alignment.

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