Blog Article

50 Signs of an Unhealthy Organisation

The elements which research has shown have a major impact on commercial performance.

1. Influential senior managers are in their last jobs, with no incentive to rock the boat.  As a result change and those who seek it are viewed as threats and blocked - or worse.

2. Confidence in the leadership diminishes - and may even be challenged.

3. Managers are reluctant to develop their staff for fear of creating rivals.

4. Employees get little or no feedback on their performance.

5. Needlessly bureaucratic and obstructive administrative systems are created and get in the way of the real business of the organisation.

6. Internal, inter-functional conflicts escalate.

7. Rumours abound.

8. New starters are left to sink or swim. (Induction is seen as an event not a process.)

9. Pay/benefits package must be kept secret or else!

10. There is no sense of urgency.

11. New ideas and talent is suppressed by a management that feels they must be the source of all that is creative and praiseworthy.

12. Key decisions are taken without any consultation with those affected - or any concern over their anxieties.

13. Too long (as judged by whom?) passes between deciding to do something and the implementation of the decisions.

14. Rules and procedures are openly broken with impunity.

15. The purpose of the organisation is unclear - or key senior managers have very different thoughts on what this is.  This confusion is passed down with adverse operational effects.

16. People play the 'that’s not my job' game - doing the bare minimum and displaying a lack of concern for colleagues.

17. Roles and responsibilities are unclear or overlap.

18. Even minor decisions are made at a very senior level, with little or no delegated authority to decide things lower down at for instance the customer-facing level.

19. Praise is rare, particularly from senior managers, who are seen as remote and uncaring.

20. People in one part of the organisation have no idea what other bits do - nor are they prepared to find out.

21. Meetings proliferate - often poorly run, impromptu, allowing no time for preparation, and resulting in confusion regarding what actions needs to be taken as a result.

22. There is little or no enthusiasm for development.  This might take the form of a cut in training activity and/or budget, or more simply an absence of interest in improving skills or knowledge - particularly at senior levels.

23. Senior management reacts with hostility to any perceived - but not always intended - challenge to their status, self-esteem or authority.

24. Resignations take management by surprise.

25. In/competent people group together for comfort to moan.

26. Staff expectations are raised then dashed.

27. Staff turnover is high - particularly amongst top calibre people.

28. A blame culture breaks out - it wasn’t my fault.

29. Recruiters take on people in their own image - often out of a desire to maintain the status quo and/or a fear of the unknown - or even prejudice.

30. There are felt to be favourites - either individuals or functions.

31. In the opinion of staff, redundancies are poorly managed.

32. Fads and/or quick fixes are adopted as a means of attacking major issues.  Senior Management’s support if given, is often half-hearted, and may evaporate when things get tough.

33. No support, even discouragement awaits those who return from training events.

34. A major distinction exists between success and effectiveness within the organisation.  Successful people may well not be effective.  Effective people are not recognised or rewarded and therefore are not likely to achieve success.

35. Frustrated good people feel driven out of the organisation.  They go (often to competitors) where they can shine.

36. Staff feels under-valued to the point that this gets in the way of performance.

37. Key roles turn over too quickly for the incumbents to make any real impact before moving on.

38. Cost-cutting measures are imposed, often without warning.  These cause widespread annoyance and may have a negative operational effect.

39. Managers don't know (or more seriously don’t care about) what is unsettling staff.

40. An immense amount of time is wasted.  This may be the result of poor supervision, demotivation, over-staffing or...?

41. Willing horses are overloaded with work because they are dependable, and in contrast, less effective people get little or nothing to do because they cannot be trusted to do things right - or at all!

42. Strong financial performance disguises deep-rooted people management issues and incompetence.

43. Key performance areas are not personally targeted - so its nobodies fault when these are not achieved.

44. The organization structure encourages a dead men shoes syndrome, with little or no promotion opportunities.

45. Over in/formality adversely affects performance.  Familiarity may breed contempt, or the need to go through the right channels and follow protocol may stifle creativity and change.

46. Intolerance strains interpersonal relations - be like me and you’ll be OK.

47. Employees pursue their own goals and interests ahead of those of the organisation.

48. Empire building and internal politics get significantly in the way of operational performance.  This means that staff don’t feel good.  Very capable people may feel demotivated as they have little or nothing worthwhile to do.

49. Working parties are staffed by the wrong people - without appropriate knowledge or skills or to steer outcomes towards the right direction.

50. Important sounding titles are used as a cosmetic attempt to improve staff morale.



  • Prosell offers a program that combines sales training and sales coaching.  It is based on recognised research, which tells us that training alone has limited impact and that when supported by skilful coaching, has 74% more chance of being implemented.
  • Prosell has resources to deliver these programs across Australia, covering Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.



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