The Magic Ingredient

Is there a magic ingredient to improve organisational health? Or is it a case of taking a variety of ingredients and mixing them correctly?

I’ve been reflecting on an excellent McKinsey article, which reports on research suggesting that the performance benefits of good organisational health are unexpectedly large. It also reveals the management practice “recipes” that are behind some of the most successful companies.

Our experience with numerous clients over the last few years aligns very well with the dimensions of health and the alternate approaches clients take to improve the situation, outlined in the article. The starting point for change certainly varies by an organisation’s situation, but there are a number of common issues that always need addressing.


  • Requires commitment from leaders who will walk the talk
  • Must have an inspiring vision and set of cultures to make it real
  • Has to engage staff effectively and recognise their individual needs
  • Needs to be managed and be flexible to new market needs
  • Is not a quick fix – it needs dedicated effort over time

Whether the programme was a major new business initiative involving multiple stakeholders or a programme of employee engagement to drive up innovation, we found a common need to continually address the way people interact and enable collaboration. Growing organisations build this into their DNA, which results in individuals and teams going the extra mile and delivering beyond expectations.

So the magic ingredients in a healthy organisational recipe are personal, team, and organisational development to enable effective employee engagement around an inspiring vision.

Simple enough when you read the recipe, but as anyone who has ever seen “The Great British Bake Off” will know, it can be much harder to take all the ingredients, get the balance right, mix them correctly, and come up with a winner.