What is good about your business and what could be improved? Would you like to know? Before you answer that question, I have another. Can you handle the truth? Sometimes when an organization asks for help and receives feedback it could be surprised to learn some inconvenient truths.
If you really want to improve your organization you will want to learn the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you can’t handle the truth you won’t have an opportunity to make things better. If you want to learn how to improve your organization, you will want to have an organizational assessment of your business. There are very effective assessment instruments available to generate a fact-based picture of organizational performance. However, it is important to have a mutual understanding of the process first. So, before I begin the process I want to make sure that it will have a meaningful impact. I will ask the following questions:
Will you be open to sharing the results with your organization? And if so, as part of the process I will offer to facilitate the debriefing with the staff.
Will you and your leadership team be willing and able to deal with the facts no matter how inconvenient and unpleasant they may end up being? This is key if you want improvement. When roadblocks are identified sometimes the finger points back to leadership. This is where the facts become inconvenient. But it is not surprising that leadership would be part of the problem and that some of the roadblocks point back to leadership. Leadership, after all, is responsible for organizational performance. Do you really know how the people in your organization perceive their leadership?
If we assume that leadership wants to move forward and make changes then leadership must agree on two things—where they want to go and where they are now. You can’t travel from one destination to the next without having a starting point. If we want to improve anything, the first step is to understand where we are and what the current status quo is. If you don’t know these two, or if it is not totally clear, then your attempts to make improvement will result in wasted time and disappointment.
Since the role of leadership is to create results through people then it stands to reason that developing relationship built on trust and shared values is necessary to have positive results. Be honest and get the facts.
Are you and the people in your organization on the same page? How do you know? Do you think your team is motivated if they don’t know where you are going? People are not motivated to get on the bus when the driver does not know where he is going. But when they do understand the strategic direction, tactical measures will be executed more effectively and efficiently.
The evaluation survey used should compare company performance in critical areas to benchmarks. One such survey, D.I.AL.O.G. is based on a highly influential set of criteria developed by Malcolm Baldrige Organization which benchmarks organizational excellence. Being measured against this standard presents an opportunity. If you are willing, you can close the gaps resulting in quantum leaps of success in your organization.
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