Organizational health is really difficult to measure because leaders have different ideas about what it looks like. We want you to use this report well, but part of the success of this time investment for your team relies on your team’s expectations of what should come out of the whole process. So let’s get clear right out of the gate.
The OrgHealth Ascent Assessment team report has been designed to accomplish these five objectives:
While other assessments related to organizational health or a specific aspect of it may be designed to drill deep into the data, we have designed the OrgHealth Ascent Assessment thinking specifically about the day when your team sits down together to walk through it. It’s laid out with discussion in mind, and with data broken up with questions in order to digest the data appropriately. If you rush the conversation, you won’t arrive at great action steps, and if you circle endlessly on one point, you won’t get a full picture of the situation, so everyone should be on board with (and remind each other) to engage fully and listen attentively, and then aim for action.
From beginning to end, the goal is to conclude with your whole team far more aware of the dynamics that get brushed to the side at other times, and with action steps that address the areas with the greatest impact.
The biggest variable in this report is the fact that it is based entirely on subjective ratings. But we want to be clear: this doesn’t undermine the accuracy of the report. In fact, it shows you exactly how deeply certain dynamics are at work in your team. But this does make it harder to spot what’s really going on, so being aware of these factors is essential.
Just about every leadership team has to contend with blind spots. The difficulty with blind spots is that they become more and more prevalent the higher up the ladder. CEOs typically rate their team and organization’s health higher than the other team members do, managers rate their department higher than their direct reports do, etc. This trend is merely an obstacle to seeing the true picture of reality, but if we can embrace that blind spots are present in our organization and our own understanding and prioritize intentional efforts to illuminate these areas, this obstacle can be overcome.
One solution for the blind spot challenge has been incorporated into the design of this assessment. By drawing on the feedback of every team member, there is a greater chance of light being brought to these essential areas (in contrast to the OrgHealth Ascent Assessment for Individuals, where only one person’s perception is evaluated).
We also ensure the anonymity of each team member’s ratings in hopes of encouraging full authenticity, but honest ratings can’t be guaranteed. Sometimes, false harmony or lack of psychological safety is so deep that team members will not give ratings that reflect how they actually view the situation.
Where self-awareness fails us, psychological safety and the vulnerable invitation for feedback can rescue us.
This said, no survey can substitute for the genuine psychological safety that either exists or does not exist in a team. Where self-awareness fails us, psychological safety and the vulnerable invitation for feedback can rescue us, but this is work that goes beyond the scope of what this assessment alone can accomplish. However, this assessment is an excellent way to jump-start increased efforts towards building greater trust, vulnerability, and healthy conflict norms.
The bottom line?
The discussion of the report is far more important than the numbers on the page. Approach the discussion with the expectation that blind spots have affected the results (because our data shows that this is just about always relevant), and do the work outside the meeting to make your table a place where team members really believe they can (and should) voice unpopular opinions without risking repercussions.
When we use this assessment with our consulting or coaching clients, it’s never a standalone event. Highlight, bold, and put this in neon lights in your brain: implementation is always the danger zone! Humans reach intellectual comfort with the idea of things long before the ideas they’re excited about are integrated into reality—somehow, the sense that “I definitely see this as important” has the odd effect of making us de-prioritize the necessary actions that would go with that sentiment! Cognitive dissonance comes for us all, which is why we recommend having an organizational health strategy.
Humans reach intellectual comfort with the idea of things long before the ideas they’re excited about are integrated into reality.
The OrgHealth Ascent Assessment is the very best launch-point for your organizational health strategy, because it informs you and pushes you towards concrete action, and then can be used again and again for benchmarking progress. But you have to take that action, and when I say that’s hard, I’m not patting you on the head, I’m thinking of company after company that fails to follow through on the action. Smart, competent, hard-working leaders fail to do this all the time. The same pitfalls that took them out are going to be in front of you.
You’re senior leaders, you don’t need me to explain to you why setting dates for these actions, assigning specific people to oversee them being done, and planning future checkpoints to evaluate your progress in raising organizational health is important. I’m only taking the time to mention it here because something about the human psyche is always quick to push back important (but uncomfortable) work when other more urgent (and more familiar) work comes up, and this has a lot to do with why companies don’t get healthy. So be warned, and be different. You can.
We’ll give you all the help we can, so while the work is yours to do, you don’t have to do it alone.