The modern organization is a very complex, changing entity made up of many inter-related elements and systems. There are individuals, groups, processes, systems, technology, structures, belief systems, attitudes, and culture to begin to name a few. This is why managers have a hard time figuring out where to focus their efforts to solve problems or make improvements.
Insiders have the added complication that the fact that they are a member of the organization means their perception of the situation is distorted by their own perspective and vested interests. As a result, it is sometimes useful to get an external view, an organizational assessment by a professional who has experience assessing and diagnosing organizational dynamics.
An organizational assessment should be framed carefully to answer a specific question, address a specific problem, or support a specific initiative. The better the question is framed, the better the answer you may get from the assessment.
The assessment should be based on:
Observation of the organization, document review,
Interviews with key individuals, often senior managers
Focus groups with a cross section of representative individuals. The focus individuals may include customers of the organization as well as insiders, depending on the question the assessment is addressing.
A survey of the entire organization if possible using the Adaptive Organization Survey. The survey should include a broad variety of questions that address the strategic, leadership, communication, human resource, relationship, workplace conditions and so on.
It is important to think through how the results of the assessment will be presented to employees. It is not appropriate to conduct such an assessment and not tell employees what was learned and what will be done about it. Best survey feedback practices suggest that management conduct meetings with employees after the assessment is completed to discuss what was learned and what actions will be taken. The assessment data should be viewed as a catalyst for dialogue with employees.