team building, organization development, leadership coaching expert michael cardus

  1. I am not a fan of using external organizational assessments to determine the companies culture, attitude, feelings, etc…
  2. If management is going to use these assessments, they have to be able to identify what is being measured, how it is measured and what the results mean about the company.
  3. What is measured (or what management thinks is measured) and what the employees think is measured are often very different.
  4. If management cannot supply concrete-real-daily examples of what they and the assessment states should be happening, or scored low, or the employees are looking for. Then the solutions that the assessment calls for are useless.
Strong Words Yes…Easy Answers Maybe

Your team or company completes one of these organizational assessments, and the results come back:

  • “Employees want better communication between managers and subordinates.”

GREAT! BTW you probably did not need an assessment to tell you that. Now what?

Many companies get their Senior Management Together, call Organization Development, and Human Resources, and Training Directors and state,

“We need communication training for our managers.”

What is wrong with that?
Ask the Senior Management Team to do the following;
  • Can you define “communication between managers and subordinates”?
  • List exactly and with real examples what better communication is?
  • Can your executive team 1. Define and agree on what “communication” is? 2. Share an example ( using precise language ) of “good communication”? 3. Determine how to do more of this “good communication” amongst yourselves?
  • Find and share three examples of “good communication between managers and subordinates”?

They might fuss and say, “Well it is different depending on which department or team you are working on, or what project you are working on, or who you are working with.”


That is the same thing that the managers and employees will say when you go to give them this “communication training.”

For organizational change to work and the assessment that the company just did to be worth the paper it is printed on the Abstract Concepts of the Assessment must be put into a practical application of the work. Otherwise, you are just exacerbating the problems by causing more problems.

If the management team cannot define, describe, and inform themselves what “communication” means in their work; How can they expect the employees to know?

What to do?

  1. With the assessment data, you have a look at the strengths and gaps.
  2. Determine what these mean in the cultural context of your organization; Seek examples from the employees – real examples of things going good and bad; Examine what is happening to drive these behaviors and results; move slow and continually check to see if what is being improved matches what people meant when they completed the organizational assessment.
  3. Understand that the “behaviors or attributes” you are seeing and that people report are symptoms of the organization structure and practices.