Blog 1 | The Marathon Way | Setting the Pace | April 2016

Marathon’s 4 foundations

A successful business inspires us all. It is quite another matter to gain a deep understanding of what it takes to build a sustainable, prosperous business. Over the past ten years we have seen many business successes – and failures. Success is never guaranteed. Those who keep studying the science of business, improve their skills and become better prepared and positioned to succeed in the long run.At Marathon we believe a high performing business should have a good level of health and fitness across four key foundations. These foundations should be well designed and executed to retain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

We will apply Marathon’s four foundations to anchor the learnings that we plan to share in this series. Each foundation consists of many disciplines and building blocks that we will unravel and study.

The four foundations are:

Foundation 1: Organisational Health
Foundation 2: Strategy & Business Model
Foundation 3: Organisation Design
Foundation 4: Value Drivers


Foundation 1: Organisational Health

To succeed in competitive markets, companies have to make smart strategic decisions. Many businesses have sound knowledge and expertise. This means that being “smart” is no longer a competitive advantage as such. What companies also need – but too few have – is Organisational Health.Dysfunctional organisations are becoming more common. The insidious effects are difficult to quantify, but real. Marathon believes that organisational health is the most powerful, untapped source of competitive advantage there is. To root out internal dysfunction, leaders must help their companies master the disciplines of a healthy organisation.

Once a healthy organisation is established, barriers to optimal productivity and efficiency tend to fall away. People are not distracted by office or external politics, are clear about priorities, and feel heard and understood. They naturally involve themselves in their work with much more eagerness and willingness to contribute to a bigger and shared mission.

Improved business results inevitably follow, even if the effects are not always instantly converted into rands and cents.

To establish a healthy organisation, the following four building blocks need to be in place:

  1. Mutual trust as well as alignment of expectations and effort within the senior leadership team
  2. Solid business planning processes and clarity on key themes and priorities in the business
  3. Alignment of effort and engagement amongst staff at various levels within the business
  4. A healthy culture – agreed business principles and values govern the internal and external behaviour patterns of the business


Next month we will explore the first building block of organisational health i.e. the role of senior leadership and the importance of trust. In the meantime, please share your thoughts with us on these themes and to what extent they are in place in your business.Let’s go…and focus on building high performing, growing businesses!

For Enquiries

Marius Botha | +27 912 2900

Meaning before money

We believe that making meaning comes before making money. Since founding Marathon, we have therefore invested our time in under-resourced organisational projects where our skills make a meaningful difference. Projects where we are involved include:







For more information about our community projects, please contact us.