7 Signs Your Organization is not Healthy

Business can often be quite precarious and unpredictable, leaving success to be some stroke of luck waiting at the end of a rainbow. Business can be quite a complicated monster that many people leave poorly unattended due to confusion, frustration, or succumbing to its vigorous ability to overwhelm.

But the truth of the matter is that business doesn’t have to be confusing and that it can, in fact, offer telling signs for when it’s working and when it is failing. Consider this article to discover the 7 signs that your organization is unhealthy.

What is Organizational Health?

Simply, organizational health is the “organization’s ability to function effectively, to cope adequately, to change appropriately, and to grow from within” (1). Generally, this is measured in the following ten dimensions:

  1. Goal focus (clarity, acceptance, and support of goals and objectives)

  2. Communication adequacy (information is distortion free, traveling both vertically and horizontally amongst the company)

  3. Optimal power equalization (relatively equitable distribution of power between leader and members)

  4. Resource utilization (effective coordination of inputs -- specifically personnel)

  5. Cohesiveness (groups or person having a clear sense of identity)

  6. Morale (groups or persons having feelings of security, satisfaction, and well-being)

  7. Innovativeness (the allowance of groups or persons to be inventive, diverse, and creative)

  8. Autonomy (groups or persons free to accomplish their responsibilities)

  9. Adaption (the ability to tolerate change and manage stress)

  10. Problem-solving adequacy (the ability to perceive issues and solve them accurately and efficiently) (1).

When an organization is managing these ten dimensions properly and efficiently, then it’s extraordinarily likely that the organization is maintaining their optimal health. When these dimensions begin to become compromised, then the organization’s health is ultimately threatened (1).

7 Signs That Identify an Unhealthy Organization

While examining the ten dimensions is a good way of determining your organization’s health, here are 7 simple signs that might help you identify an unhealthy streak in your organization:

  1. Trapped in the past (2). We’ve always done things this way, it worked for us in the past, so that’s how we’ll keep doing it! This mentality is keeping your business from progressing. Just because something worked for you years ago doesn’t mean it’s going to work forever.

  2. New=Unheard of (2). If you haven’t launched something new--be it a product, service, event, talent, or more--in over a year, then your company is heading downhill. Creativity, invention, risk-taking, and experimentation are key to keeping your business successful. Without it, failure is on the horizon.

  3. Everyone is really, really tired (2). Where once people would eagerly grab lunch together and quickly return calls and emails, now they no longer respond to anything. They’re all out of steam and their excited chatter has all dried up.

  4. All the good ones leave (3). When the real leaders, innovators, and hard workers of your company abandon ship, you know something’s up to make your organization no longer worth staying for.

  5. The communication flow is disrupted (3). The employers don’t talk to the employees, and the employees can’t talk to the higher-ups. If it seems that no one understands the goal and vision of the business than it’s a for sure sign that something is backward.

  6. A certain change breaks the business (2). Your biggest client goes to a competitor. Several employees quit for other opportunities. A water pipe bursts in the breakroom. Unfortunate incidents can be damaging, but they shouldn’t be astronomical. A business’ inability to react properly to an undesirable change is a sign of imbalance.

  7. Some people are getting overworked; others aren’t meeting their expectations (1). This imbalance is a sign of an issue somewhere in the business line-up and will cause many issues if not properly corrected.


There are many ways for businesses to falter and simple paths to follow that lead to unhealthy destinations. Correcting these issues as early as possible is the best way to maintain proper structure, productivity, and profit.



  1. http://www.organizationalhealth.com/publications/OHFinal.pdf

  2. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/the-5-deadly-signs-of-business-decay-1/

  3. https://www.ajc.com/business/employment/signs-your-company-going-close-and-ways-save-yourself/ciBhipfJADGLST6i3YU96H/?icmp=np_inform_variation-control