Organizational Success & its People

Fueling Good

Organizational Success & its People

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If your organization was a train, where would it be headed?

Maintain an Edge

While many organizations may struggle to create or maintain their edge by putting on market the most sought after product or services and/or by creating and enforcing the right strategy, I suggest that an organization’s success is fueled pretty much by its people.

The Important Ingredient of Success

After all, the late management guru Peter Drucker once said that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” So even with the best product, services and strategy on hand, an organization’s success could still be thwarted by the very people who make up the organization. And if an organization’s culture breeds stress and burnout, it is a matter of time before the pressure cooker blows and the organization breaks down.

… an organization’s success is fueled pretty much by its people.”

Organizational Factors of Burnout

While many of us may think of burnout as a crisis brought about by the lack of personal resilience, it is now also time for us to properly understand that burnout can also happen because of organizational factors. In their book “The Truth About Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do about it” by Christina Maslach, Michael P. Leiter, they stated that “burnout is not a trivial problem but an important barometer of a major social dysfunction in the workplace.” They suggest that lack of control, values conflict, insufficient reward, work overload, unfairness and breakdown of community are sources of burnout at work.

This is further supported by a recent study quoted by the Workplace Safety and Health Institute’s National Workplace Safety and Health Research Agenda for Singapore (2018-2020). The study found that organizational politics, workload and lack of support as being the major stressors in their working life for workers in Singapore.

Burnout & How it Eats Organizations Up

And as a commentary about burnout by Sara-Ann Lee, a clinical psychologist at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), suggests that “burnout fuels organizational inefficiency.” And it is not difficult to see how this is so. Burnout may cause workers perpetually drained and tired; they may start to develop somatic problems such as aches and pains; they may experience emotional and cognitive difficulties; they may isolate themselves and get embroiled in conflicts; they may lose confidence and their morale may take a dip, they may develop unhealthy habits such as increased drinking, smoking or overeating. All these will impact an organization’s ability to be productive and successful.

burnout fuels organizational inefficiency”

The Time to Act

According to Schonfeld, Bianchi and Palazzi (What is the difference between depression and burnout? An ongoing debate), burnout is likely to reflect a “classical” depressive process unfolding in reaction to unresolvable stress. With the 2019 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey finding that 92% of working Singaporeans reported feeling stressed (higher than the global average of 84 per cent), the time has now come that organizations need to stop stress in its tracks before it brings their staff down the slippery path of developing mental health challenges. Organizations need to incorporate building a burnout-free culture into their strategy and as part of their “service” for their internal customers.

It is only when the “internals” have been taken care of that the organization is best positioned for organizational success. We have also produced an infographic about the effects of burnout

Organizations need to incorporate building a burnout-free culture into their strategy and as part of their “service” for their internal customers” 

The Key to a Thriving Organization Infographic

Click on the image to download


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Organizational Success & its People

by James Lim
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