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Interview with Duke Maines, Partner at Perpetual: Organizational Health and the Perpetual t3® diagnostic

Thank you for joining us today, Duke. Let’s dive right into the topic of organizational health and its importance. You mentioned that Perpetual uses the t3 diagnostic to measure organizational health. Could you elaborate on what the t3 diagnostic is and how it helps assess an organization’s health?

Absolutely, happy to explain. The t3 diagnostic, which stands for “team-to-togetherness,” is a research-backed tool we use at Perpetual to gauge an organization’s health and the attributes of high-performing teams within it. It provides a snapshot of where a team stands in terms of six critical attributes, and this snapshot reveals opportunities to enhance team engagement for achieving specific business outcomes.

Can you briefly outline these six essential attributes that the t3 diagnostic assesses, and why they are important for high-performing teams?

Certainly, the six attributes are the building blocks of a high-performing team, and they are as follows:

  1. The Right Stuff: This attribute involves carefully selecting and maintaining team members, ensuring they have the skills and capabilities needed for success.
  2. Clarity & Alignment: Teams must have a compelling and clearly communicated plan that aligns with the organization’s goals and objectives.
  3. Empowerment: Teams should be well-designed, with processes that enable them to carry out their work effectively. Empowerment is about giving them the tools and authority to make decisions.
  4. Belonging: This attribute relates to stated and demonstrated values within the team. It’s about creating a sense of belonging and shared purpose.
  5. Agile Execution: High-performing teams prioritize the needs of the organization over personal interests, focusing on executing tasks efficiently and effectively.
  6. Togetherness: This is the highest attribute and involves shared adversity, experiences, and stories that strengthen the team’s bonds and commitment to success.

Each attribute builds upon the previous one and neglecting one can undermine the others. Therefore, these attributes are crucial for creating and sustaining high-performing teams.

You mentioned that the t3 diagnostic is based on empirical research. Could you tell us more about the research behind it and its significance in understanding employee motivation and effort?

Certainly. The t3 diagnostic is grounded in empirical research that we conducted in Spring 2017, involving 325 employees from various industries. We aimed to understand how membership in a high-performing team influences employee motivation and effort compared to other factors like wages, benefits, and intrinsic traits.

The research yielded a critical finding, encapsulated in the equation:

E = -1.07 + 0.19(IS) + 0.35(Y) + 0.91(Z) – 0.04(Z^2).

In this equation, E represents employee motivation and effort, and the variables IS (intellectually stimulating work), Y (intrinsic self-motivation), and Z (membership in a high-performing team) play significant roles.

In essence, the research showed that being part of a high-performing team, represented by the variable Z, had the most substantial impact on employee motivation and effort. This underscores the importance of optimizing employee performance by focusing on team dynamics and health.

Why should organizations prioritize organizational health, and what role does it play in overall business performance?

Organizational health is paramount because it directly impacts an organization’s ability to execute its strategy, renew itself through innovation, and align around a common vision. When an organization is healthy, it can respond effectively to changes, adapt to market dynamics, and ultimately achieve better performance.

It’s essential to recognize that organizational health goes beyond culture and employee engagement; it encompasses the alignment of people, processes, and purpose. Neglecting organizational health can lead to poor performance, inefficiencies, and operational dysfunction. To drive tangible performance gains in as little as 6 to 12 months, leaders must invest in building a healthy, performance-driven organization.

How can leaders go about improving their organization’s health and fostering high-performing teams?

Improving organizational health and fostering high-performing teams requires a top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, and side-to-side approach. Engaging a committed community of influencers, both formal and informal, is vital. These influencers can be found at all levels of the organization and have a significant impact on motivating their colleagues.

Identifying these influencers through surveys and mapping their roles is often eye-opening for organizations. They can help reinforce leadership’s vision, model new mindsets, gather feedback, and excite and engage the front line.

Ultimately, leaders should invest in the development of the six essential attributes we discussed earlier, ensuring that each attribute is well-developed and interconnected. By doing so, they can build a robust foundation for organizational health and high performance.

Thank you, Duke, for sharing your insights on the importance of organizational health and how Perpetual uses the t3 diagnostic to help organizations achieve it. Your expertise in leadership development and change management is evident, and we appreciate your time today.

You’re welcome. It was my pleasure to discuss this crucial topic, and I hope it inspires leaders to prioritize their organization’s health and performance. If anyone has further questions or needs assistance, feel free to reach out to Perpetual. We’re here to help organizations unlock their full potential.