Capture your Organization’s True Character

The Character of the Organization

How do you capture the true character of an organization?  One approach is to compare your organization to one doing everything right, with merit and worth.  How is it doing everything (right) all at the same time?  They can’t!  Balance and priority are two words that quickly come to mind.

This post uses this ideal organization, allowing you to capture your “Organization’s Character”, see how your organization thinks as a whole, and establish priorities for its strategic action plan.

Figure 1 – Integration Circle

Figure 2 – Integration into Action

In the second round, assign all the topics to members in the team (some may have more than one topic) and have them “text-map” the full description of the topic.  You can research text-mapping.  It’s like mind-mapping, and looks something like the example below.  The goal is to highlight key words, phrases, and the links to capture the body and interconnections of content within the topic.

Figure 3 – Example, Text Mapping

Links for more information:

  • The full version of the Core Values and Concepts can be found within Baldrige Performance Excellence Criteria (available for purchase at Baldrige Website).
  • A truncated version of Core Values and Concepts can be found within the Baldrige Excellence Builder (See Baldrige Website) and a truncated version can be found below.

Team members present their text-maps, allowing others to discover the merit of each topic.

Repeat the voting exercise (i.e., Figure 1 – Integration Circle), and again vote where each participant can see a connection (of importance to the organization) between two topics and record the results.  Compare the variation from individual (1st Round) to team results (2nd Round).  Ultimately, the idea is to repeat this exercise as time goes on (year-over-year) and trend the results.  You should see maturity and more focus.  Do not skip this comparison step.

Learning is Key and we must learn from the merit of each topic and the comparative information.  You must discover that the heart of the exercise is to value each interconnection, along with learning the value of the deep dynamics of collective thinking and ultimate value of integration.

Now to put things in perspective, have the team multi-vote their opinion of the most important core value or concept for the organization.  This multi-vote technique allows someone to vote for the same topic multiple times, if they see particular importance in that topic.  Tally the votes, record the results and sort / rank by the most votes to the least.

Briefly list your approaches (i.e., procedures, processes, etc.) that currently address each of the eleven topics, then note if any of the eleven topics have few, weak, or no approaches listed.  If the topic ranks higher and the organization’s current approaches fail to address the higher priorities, identify the gap (delta), and record the proposed changes.  If a low-ranking topic has multiple approaches (consuming resources) consider reductions.  Are you on target? Keep it up!

In the end, you will observe how each individual team members thinks (1st Round), how the whole team thinks (2nd Round), ranks the most important topics, and captures an integrated action plan for improvement.  Hopefully, you see integration through a new set of lenses.

Here is the truncated version of Core Values and Concepts:

  • Systems perspective. A systems perspective means managing all the parts of your organization as a unified whole to achieve your mission and strive toward your vision.
  • Visionary leadership. Your organization’s senior leaders should set a vision for the organization, create a customer focus, demonstrate clear and visible organizational values and ethics, and set high expectations for the workforce.
  • Customer-focused excellence. Your customers are the ultimate judges of your performance and of product and service quality. Thus, your organization must consider all product and service characteristics, and modes of customer access and support, that contribute to customer satisfaction, loyalty, positive referrals, and ultimately your organization’s ongoing success.
  • Valuing people. A successful organization values its workforce members and the other people who have a stake in the organization, including customers, community members, suppliers and partners, and other people affected by its actions.
  • Agility and resilience. Agility requires a capacity for flexibility and rapid change. Organizational resilience is the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and recover from disruptions. It is the ability to protect and enhance workforce and customer engagement, organizational performance, and community well-being when disruptions occur.
  • Organizational learning. Organizational learning includes both continuous improvement of existing approaches and significant change or innovation. This leads to new goals, approaches, products, and markets.
  • Focus on success and innovation. Ensuring your organization’s success now and in the future requires understanding the short- and longer-term factors that affect your organization and its environment. It also requires the ability to drive organizational innovation. Innovation means making meaningful change to improve your products, services, programs, processes, operations, and business model, with the purpose of creating new value for stakeholders.
  • Management by fact. Management by fact requires you to measure and analyze your organization’s performance, both inside the organization and in your competitive environment. Analysis of performance should support organizational evaluation, alignment, and decision making.
  • Societal contributions. Your organization’s leaders should stress contributions to the public and the consideration of societal well-being and benefit. Your leaders should be role models for the well-being of your communities.
  • Ethics and transparency. Your organization should stress ethical behavior by all workforce members in all stakeholder transactions and interactions. Senior leaders should be role models of ethical behavior, including transparency, characterized by candid and open communication on the part of leadership and management and by the sharing of accurate information.
  • Delivering value and results. Your organization should choose and analyze results that help you deliver and balance value for your key stakeholders. Thus, results need to include not just financial results, but also product and process results; customer and workforce satisfaction and engagement results; and leadership, strategy, and societal performance.

Use this approach to help you refine and build new strength and maturity within your organization.  A new post in the series Integration within the Organization is coming next week.  Hope to see you there.

Paul Dreiss

Quality Advisor

Paul Dreiss has a proven track record of establishing and revitalizing organizational quality systems in multiple industries and service organizations. Two areas of focus include: Quality Management System – Developed organizational policies, procedures and work instructions that your…