Questions, Questions, Questions
Asking the right question critical! One of the key lessons I have learned as an organisation design consultant is to ask the right question. As de Bono says, “Asking a question is the simplest way of focusing thinking…asking the right question may be the most important part of thinking.”
If you’ve read my first blog you’ll know that Tricordant is supporting Lydia Sokou, a MSc student, at University of Edinburgh Business School to “Develop a research-based organisational health assessment.” In essence this assessment is a series of questions to help determine the health of an organisation. However before creating an assessment a definition of organisational health is needed to help establish the colours with which we will “paint the picture.”
From our exploration to date there are a variety of perspectives of organisational health including:
- Beating the competition
- Health, Safety and wellbeing of employees
- Building a cohesive leadership team
Our working definition of Organisational health is,
“Intentionally co-creating a system of harmonious working, where people thrive and the right thing to do is the easy thing to do.”
This definition captures ideas such as:
- Organisations as open systems
- Purpose and meaning
- Strategy and choice
- Value delivery
- Alignment and coherence
- Feedback loops and adaption
- Releasing human potential
- Engagement and inclusion
- Deliberate intent
We also look at organisations through the lens of our organisational model which we call The Tricord. For us The Tricord describes all aspects of an organisation that need to be aligned for the whole to be healthy. It gives us a holistic view of the organisation to highlight health or dysfunction at any or all levels. The Tricord then gives us the canvas and boundaries within which we can paint.
Bringing our definition and The Tricord together several questions are emerging to inform the next iteration of our organisational health assessment such as in the below table.
Each question is formulated to describe an ongoing activity to represent the continual, intentional work and we begin each question with, “Is your organisation….”
Is your organisation….
|Working to a clear purpose that provides a cause, focus and motivation?|
|Living out a set of values that guide decisions, language and behaviour?|
|Continuously monitoring the external environment for factors which will significantly impact the organisation?|
|Ensuring alignment to address the needs of each customer segment?|
|Efficiently delivering todays business AND adapting to changing needs?|
|Coordinating efforts across the organisation to maximise synergies and collaboration while minimising duplications?|
|Encouraging and rewarding staff for solving big issues and/or innovating?|
|Maintaining a positive culture that is aligned with purpose & values?|
Each question would then be scored using a likert scale from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree but without the neutral position.
What makes these questions, organisational health questions is not the individual question but looking at your organisation a systemic way using this assessment.
The above table only represents a selection of potential questions to help assess the health of an organisation. Lydia is currently processing the feedback she’s received from the interviews and will refining a set of questions to inform Tricordant’s next iteration of our Organisational Health Assessment. I would love to hear from you about:
- What would you include within a definition of organisational health?
- What questions would you ask to explore the health of an organisation?