Organizational Health

by DAO Architecture

“The single greatest advantage any company can  achieve is organizational health.Yet it is ignored

by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it.”

-Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage

Discipline 1:  Build a Cohesive Leadership Team

A Leadership Team should consist of a small group of people (3-10) that are “behaviorally cohesive”.  Every Leadership Team should embrace these five behavioral principals:

  1. Trust
  2. Conflict
  3. Commitment
  4. Accountability
  5. Results

(See Figure 1)

                                                                                                                     Figure 1

  • Trust – This is the foundation for building a cohesive team. It is different than the conventional notion of trust – it’s about Vulnerable Trust.  Can the team be clear and truthful and admit fault without fear?  Establishing this kind of trust takes time – It takes team members getting to know each other.  At DAO Architecture, we have recently completed Personality Profiles for each employee.  This will allow us to learn more about each other – how we are wired, etc.  We continue to learn about each other every day, both personally, and professionally.  Some days it’s as easy as asking what we all did for fun over the weekend, or what plans do we have for the upcoming weekend.  Team building exercises are also a big part of our organization – they might consist of an afternoon or evening out together, or a “Lunch -n- Learn” with a local designer or contractor.  Each of these activities help build the level of trust required for a team to be cohesive.
  • Conflict – This is about Healthy Conflict. It is about allowing everyone to express their view and opinions, and being able to agree to disagree.  Allowing everyone to weigh in through discussion/conflict enables them to buy in.  Are we comfortable saying that we might be wrong in a situation?  Can we be honest and tell another team member that their idea is better than ours?
  • Commitment – This is about being able to buy in to the organization. If one cannot weigh in, how can one buy in?  Establishing trust and creating an arena for healthy conflict will allow for people to voice their commitment.
  • Accountability – Once they have committed, each member should be held accountable for their tasks and duties. Holding people accountable is not easy.  This is about caring enough to risk being blamed for pointing out a coworker’s mistakes.
  • Results – Once Trust, Conflict, Commitment, and Accountability are in place, real results occur. The good of the team comes first – a team works together to achieve the goals that are shared across the entire team.

Discipline 2:  Create Clarity


Answering Six Critical Questions is the start of creating Clarity.  At DAO Architecture, we recently created a “Company Playbook” which is comprised of the answers to these six critical questions to make sure every member of our team clearly understands what it means to work with DAO Architecture.

  1. Why do we exist?
  2. How do we behave?
  3. What do we do?
  4. How will we succeed?
  5. What is most important right now?
  6. Who must do what?

Discipline 3:  Over Communicate Clarity

Communicating the answers to the six critical questions is imperative.  Communication should be done CLEARLY, REPEATEDLY, ENTUSIASTICALLY, AND REPEATEDLY!  It is said that any idea or concept must be communicated at least SEVEN times before it is truly believed.  Creating our Company Playbook is the first step toward communicating clarity in our organization.

Discipline 4:  Reinforce Clarity

Reinforcing clarity in every process that involves people is intended to answer the six critical questions – this means that processes for hiring, training, people management and compensation, for example, should be designed around the six critical questions.

“Human systems give an organization a structure for tying its operations, culture, and management together, even when leaders aren’t around to remind people.”  Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage

A good example of this is developing an approach to hiring, wherein the primary purpose is to put just enough structure in place to ensure a measure of consistency and adherence to the company’s core values.  After all, the real goal to any effective hiring process is to find people who fit the culture, agree with the core values, and have the best chance at success.

At DAO Architecture, we are striving to make Organizational Health OUR top priority.  The points outlined above are not our words or ideas – the sole credit for this goes to Patrick Lencioni and his book, The Advantage.  At DAO, we are just beginning this process, however, we strongly believe in this strategy and we are excited where it will lead us.

The Leadership Team is now behaviorally cohesive.  We have created our “Company Playbook” to Create Clarity, and we are working to Communicate Clarity to our team.    We are Reinforcing Clarity every day – what are we working on?  What are our goals? How do we hire? How do we train new hires?   We are becoming and will remain a HEALTHY ORGANIZATION if we continue working together per the Four Discipline Model outlined herein.

Pictured From Left:  Dan Orecchio, Jaime Polonowski, Patrick McTavish,

Taylor Parrott, Tara Gilmore, Joseph Huber, and Ingrid Torales