The 4 'Ds' to Organizational Health


How can an organization effectively reflect the character of Christ? Al Lopus offers a blueprint for a healthy and sustainable organizational culture.

Our research at Best Christian Workplaces Institute validates that there are four steps in “The 4-D” cycle an organization can take towards organizational health.

These steps include:

  1. Discovery (appreciating and valuing)
  2. Dream (envisioning)
  3. Design (co-constructing the future)
  4. Destiny (learning and empowering to sustain the future)

Today I cover how design and destiny fit into the cycle.


Once the strategic focus of a better world is identified in the Dream phase, we begin designing the ideal culture. Through designing new, healthy elements of change, healing from any past hurts and rebuilding trust can occur.

1. Identify specific design elements. This step defines the structure to allow the dream to become reality. Design elements could include leadership development, systems, strategy, technology, shared values, decision-making, performance management, and goal setting. The organization now works to begin implementing positive change. Moving quickly is important to continue the positive momentum created through the Dream phase.

2. Identify internal and external participants. Creating cross-functional teams within the organization is important in the Design phase. In faith-based organizations, there is often a tendency to exclude outside stakeholders-either those you serve or your donor community-in designing improvements. However, incorporating their input in the process is critical to the long-term effectiveness of the project.

3. Identify themes that impact organizational health and engage dialogue. Looking back at the results of the Discovery and Dream phases, identify the statements and/or stories that exemplify the desired health of the organization.

4. Write statements that define the preferred culture. Next, each member of the team should work independently to write preferred possibility statements about the key elements of the desired culture. To get buy-in from the entire organization, everyone must make a contribution. These statements bridge the “what is” to the “what might be.”


This phase is also known as delivery or deployment. The goal is the realization of the dream. This requires aligning the organization with the statements of the preferred culture and building competencies that will sustain it.

Now you have the blueprint to move your organizational culture to the point where it is healthy and sustainable, one of the best, most effective places to work. We have been created to reflect His image. Let’s be bold for Christ and conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.

It’s a big question, but how does an organization effectively reflect the character of Christ?

Contributed by Al Lopus

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