REALITY #27: Attentive leaders monitor the R-naught factors of their organizations.

When studying communicable diseases, the average number of people one infected person can be expected to infect can be calculated and reported as an R-naught (Ro) value.  Once calculated, it provides public health leaders with a measure of the potential impact of an infectious disease on a specific population.  In medicine and the broader field of public health, the term infection generally carried a negative connotation.

There are many factors that can impact the health, strength, well-being, and vitality of an organization.  The potential for any individual or group to influence others in the organization and thus the organization as a whole, is one of these factors.   When considering the conceivable impact of individuals or small-groups on an organization, the term infectious, as used here, connotes the spread of something either negative or positive.    In both instances, prudent and careful monitoring is essential, if the infectious force is to be limited for its negative potential or supported for its latent positivity.

Clearly, the infectious nature any number of forces can have on an organization cannot be measured as systematically or accurately as the spread of a virus.  Nonetheless, the need for thoughtful and continual monitoring of potentially communicable forces is no less essential. That is true, if the health of the organization is to be effectively monitored.

Observing both positive and negative infections within an organizational setting begins with realizing that they do indeed exist.   Step two is accepting responsibility for monitoring them and their spread within an organization.  This is when an R-naught mentality may most benefit organizational leaders by prompting several rather obvious questions.  Who and what is motivating this spread?  Will this infectious outbreak, support the mission and goals of the organization, or will the organization suffer as a result of this outbreak?  What measures offer the best prognosis for containing a negative infection or promoting the spread of a positive force that is thus beneficially contagious?

Monitoring organizational temperature can provide evidence of both negative and positive contagions, while prompting action that will best serve the organization.


2 thoughts on “REALITY #27: Attentive leaders monitor the R-naught factors of their organizations.

  1. Just like principals monitor the culture and climate of their school buildings to support student success, superintendents must monitor the culture and climate of the leadership team to support the team’s collective efficacy. Although we seek consensus and agreement, times of disagreement, if handled correctly, can strengthen the foundation of the administration.

    1. Absolutely! Disagreement is generally the starting point in the search for common ground, and the search for common ground is more often than not the process through which growth, enhancement, and team building happens. As you say, there in lies the potential for a team’s positive “collective efficacy!”

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